Jharkhand all set to have JMM-Cong govt

Jharkhand all set to have JMM-Cong govt

Jharkhand is expected to have a government within a week with Congress and JMM giving "finishing touches" to an alliance with an eye on securing majority of seats in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

"Finishing touches are being given to the modalities for government formation in Jharkhand and seat sharing for 2014 Lok Sabha polls," a senior Congress leader, who declined to be identified, said.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi held threadbare discussions with senior party leaders A K Antony, Jairam Ramesh, AICC General Secretary in-charge of Jharkhand B K Hariprasad and AICC General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed over the issue.

The tribal-dominated state is under President's Rule since January 18 after the collapse of the Arjun Munda-led BJP government following the withdrawal of support by JMM on January 8.

The senior leadership of Congress had earlier stonewalled attempts to forge an alliance with JMM despite pressure by MLAs owing to its past bad experience of propping up an independent Madhu Koda-led government and criminal cases against some JMM leaders.

However, there was a re-thinking later keeping in mind the arithmetic for the next general elections.

Congress has agreed to have a JMM Chief Minister in the state which in lieu has consented to give a lion's share (9-10) of the 14 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress.
Shibu Soren's son Hemant Soren, who is tipped to be the next chief minister, held a meeting with RJD chief Lalu Prasad last night to seek his support for the coalition government.

Sources said in the new government there would be no Deputy Chief Minister, while Congress, which is participating in the government, could get five to six ministries.
Congress is keen to have a Speaker from the party, while JMM could be given Chairmanship of the Coordination Committee for the smooth running of the alliance government there.

A separate committee of Congress leaders in the state will be set up, which will keep an eye how the alliance arrangement works, the sources said.

"There is no point of clash between the parties on these issues," said sources close to Hemant Soren, who is camping here since yesterday.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad assured both JMM and Congress of his party's support to the formation of the alternative government in the state, which is under President Rule, whose spell is to expire on July 18.

While Soren met him last night, Congress state chief Sukhdeo Bhagat, CLP leader Rajinder Prasad Singh and senior leader Sarfaraz Ahmed met him today morning during which the RJD chief assured his "cent percent" support to government formation.
Bhagat, Singh and Hariprasad had another meeting in the evening to chalk out the details of government foramtion.

Antony's role is crucial in the government formation there as the alliance issue is linked to seat sharing for next Lok Sabha polls. Antony chairs the Congress sub-group on alliances for the next general elections.

Babulal Marandi's JVM (P), which had forged an alliance with Congress for the 2009 assembly elections, parted ways with it in April last year over the FDI issue, a separation, which also worked towards Congress-JMM coming together. Besides Congress also believed that Marandi's party would not have given that much seats to it.

Out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, Congress currently has only one in Subodh Kant Sahay. JMM has two members. They fought the last general elections separately.

In 2004 Lok Sabha elections, when both parties had fought in alliance, Congress had won six and JMM four seats. RJD and CPI were also in the alliance and they had got two and one seat respectively bringing 12 seats in UPA I kitty then.

JMM and Congress, which have 18 and 13 MLAs, need the support of 11 more legislators to form a government in the 81-member state assembly. RJD has 5 MLAs in the House.

CPI-ML (L), Marxist Coordination Party, Jharkhand Party (Ekka), Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch and Jai Bharat Samta Party have one member each besides an Independent.
If both RJD as well as AJSU support any government- formation excerise, Congress and JMM will not have to look towards JD(U) or independents. AJSU had voted for JMM candidate in Rajya Sabha elections last year.

Political uncertainties have dogged Jharkhand and the state coming under President's Rule for the third time since it was carved out from Bihar in 2000.

Earlier the state was placed under President's rule in 2009 and 2010.

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