Situation fluid in Jharkhand

Situation fluid in Jharkhand

"We are not involving ourselves right now. Nobody has talked to us nor are we taking any initiative," was the refrain of a top Congress leader when asked about the party's strategy in Jharkhand after the BJP decided to withdraw support to the four-month-old Shibu Soren Government. Unmoved by an apology from Soren, who in a letter to top BJP leaders blamed his "ill-health" for voting against the cut-motion in Parliament, BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said the party MLAs will meet Governor M O H Farook later in the day and convey the decision to withdraw support.

A top leader in Congress, meanwhile, denied that Soren's voting for the UPA during cut motion was planned out. "We ourselves were surprised as to how this happened," the leader said when asked whether it was a mistake by Soren or Congress had talked to him on this. The leader also dismissed suggestions that there was any move to make Soren a minister at the Centre and form a Congress-JMM-JVM government in the state. "It is baseless. There is no deal between Congress and JMM," he said.

In the 82-member Jharkhand Assembly, BJP and JMM have 18 seats each, Congress 14, RJD 5, JVM 11, ASJU 5, JD(U) 2, CPI(ML) 1 and others and independents six. One member is nominated. The leader said the party was not in a mood to take a call in a hurry right now. Senior Congress leader from Jharkhand and Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay has ruled out the possibility of offering chief ministership to anyone in the state. "We will not offer chief ministership to anyone in Jharkhand," Sahay told reporters outside Parliament adding, "It is wait and watch for now."

In a bid to pacify BJP leaders, Soren has written letters to L K Advani, Swaraj and party president Nitin Gadkari expressing regret that he had voted against the BJP-led NDA's cut motion in Parliament and requested the Party to rethink its decision on withdrawal of support. "We are not impressed with his letter and our decision to withdraw support remains firm," Swaraj said dismissing "rumours" that BJP was trying to form a government with its own leader occupying the Chief Minister's chair and Soren's son Hemant as Deputy Chief Minister.

On Soren's actions, Deputy Chief Minister and chief of BJP's Jharkhand unit Raghuvir Das, however, said in Ranchi, "To err is human, and they have accepted the error." He added that the state unit will abide by the decision of the central leadership. Meanwhile, LJP General Secretary Shamal-e- Nabi demanded that President rule be immediately imposed in Jharkhand claiming that no political party or combination is in a position to form a government there.

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