JMM now demands rotational Chief Ministership in Jharkhand

JMM now demands rotational Chief Ministership in Jharkhand

Though JMM and BJP had made some progress during their talks yesterday on the alliance, the gains were frittered away when Shibu Soren's party demanded that each party should head the coalition government for 28 months. Four-and-a-half years of the tenure of Soren government are left.

"Last night we had even reached the stage where distribution of ministries between JMM and BJP were discussed but now they are making this demand which is not acceptable to us under any condition," a senior BJP leader said.BJP leaders are wary of going for this rotational arrangement due to their bitter experiences in the past.

"BSP had ditched us in Uttar Pradesh when we supported Mayawati as Chief Minister in a rotational arrangement, then H D Kumaraswamy (JD-S) betrayed our trust in Karnataka when he did not support B S Yeddyurappa as CM," a BJP MP said.Senior BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar have been appointed by the party to negotiate with JMM leader Hemant Soren, son of Chief Minister Shibu Soren. A few rounds of meetings and back-channel parleys have taken place.

"We are discussing government formation on the basis of the letter written by Hemant Soren pledging support to a BJP-led government. Our leaders who are in talks with JMM were given clear instructions that if any other demands are made we will not agree. We are not dying to form a government in Jharkhand," Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said.

BJP had decided to withdraw support to the Shibu Soren government on April 28 after the JMM chief voted against the opposition cut motions in the Lok Sabha, but put its decision on hold after Hemant's offer to head the state government.

Patience is said to be running thin among the seniormost leaders in BJP. However, sources said a decision on the issue may take some more time as party president Nitin Gadkari, Swaraj, L K Advani and others will be away on Saturday.Shibu Soren, who is in town, is likely to leave for Chennai for a medical check-up causing further delay.

"Though Gadkari has been authorised to take a final call, he may call a Parliamentary Board meeting before deciding anything," a senior BJP leader said.

A major concern in the BJP top brass is also the stability of a JMM-supported government."In a coalition there is no guarantee but there should be some semblance of stability in the alliance," a BJP Rajya Sabha member insisted.Some leaders claimed that Hemant Soren has got letters of support from 16 of his 18 MLAs but BJP leaders are keeping their fingers crossed, saying these were still to reach them.