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Stalemate persists in Jharkhand
BJP clueless l Congress hesitant l ‘Chinks’ in JMM 
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 21
Even as the Congress is maintaining a wait and watch policy on Jharkhand, the BJP appears clueless on the happenings in the state, with reports emanating from Ranchi indicating a split in the ruling JMM over supporting a BJP-led government.

According to information, only six MLAs supposedly owing allegiance to Chief Minister Shibu Soren’s son Hemant Soren arrived at Bokaro, where the Sorens have gone to observe the first death anniversary of Shibu’s elder son Durga who died last year. The JMM has 18 members in the state Assembly.

Shibu had decided to utilise the occasion to discuss with his MLAs and party leaders the agreement reached between BJP general secretary Arjun Munda and Hemant Soren to replace him (Soren Senior) with Munda on May 25, thus requiring Shibu Soren to resign and JMM offering support to a BJP-led government. However, reports indicated that a number of JMM MLAs, as also the Chief Minister himself, who is not yet a member of the legislative assembly, are opposed to handing over the reins of power to the BJP, even on rotational a basis, as agreed upon by Munda and Hemant Soren.

Two JMM MLAs consistently opposed to the move to install a BJP-led government, Teklal Mahto and Lobin Hembrom, arrived here last night and sent emissaries to the Congress leadership to start dialogue for a possible tie-up. The duo claimed that by tomorrow another four MLAs were arriving.

But AICC in charge of Jharkhand K Kesava Rao insisted that he has neither met nor is his party interested in opening any dialogue with any parties till a more clear picture emerged about the political situation. On its part, the BJP is dazed by the latest u-turn by Shibu Soren and insistence that he will not resign on May 25. Though the BJP continued to feign ignorance about the developments in Jharkhand, privately some leaders said it is time that the party announced withdrawal of support.

Sources in the BJP said no decision is likely to be taken on this issue at least till May 27 when BJP president Nitin Gadkari returns from his foreign tour. In any case, the party is too embarrassed to speak about Jharkhand at all.





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