Cong-JMM set to form govt with Hemant Soren as CM

JMM sources in Ranchi said JD(U),with two MLAs,has also offered support from outside

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi/ Ranchi | Published:July 3, 2013 2:20 am

Nearly six months after President’s Rule was imposed in Jharkhand,the state is set to get a new government. After weeks of deliberations,the Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) reached an agreement on Tuesday and decided to stake claim to form a government led by Shibu Soren’s son,Hemant Soren.

According to the agreement,Hemant Soren will become the chief minister and the Congress will join the government. Sources said the government was unlikely to have a deputy chief minister.

The Congress leadership,which was initially reluctant to align with the JMM given its “tainted image” and “unpredictable ways”,decided to re-visit the issue following pressure from its local leaders. The party,however,has clinched an agreement on seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha elections as a pre-condition for supporting the JMM. According to sources,the JMM has agreed to give the Congress 9-10 seats out of the total 14.

The JMM and Congress,which have 18 and 13 MLAs respectively,will still need the support of 11 more MLAs to form the government. JMM sources said the RJD,with five MLAs,and about half-a-dozen independents have offered support.

JMM sources in Ranchi said JD(U),with two MLAs,has also offered support from outside. “While RJD will join the cabinet,JD(U) will provide unofficial support. If the alliance is in trouble,JD(U) will support us,” said a JMM leader.

President’s Rule,which was imposed after the fall of the BJP-led government,is set to expire on July 18.

Hemant Soren,who flew to Delhi today with Congress general secretary in charge of Jharkhand B K Hariprasad,his predecessor Shakeel Ahmed,PCC chief Sukhdeo Bhagat and CLP leader Rajendra Prasad Singh,is slated to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. Sources said an official announcement is likely in the next couple of days,after which the alliance will stake claim.

Hariprasad,who,along with Ahmed,met Hemant Soren earlier in the day in Ranchi,met Sonia after arriving in Delhi and apprised her of the situation.

Having decided to explore the possibility of striking a deal with the JMM — which was more than keen to enter into an alliance with the Congress and had been sending feelers soon after it broke up with the BJP — Hariprasad and Ahmed had been holding talks with the JMM for the last one month or so.

The Congress decided to shed its reluctance after it assessed that an alliance with JMM would be beneficial in the 2014 elections. The Congress,sources said,benefited from its alliance with JMM in 2004,winning six of the 14 seats,while the JMM won four. When the two parties contested separately in 2009,the Congress tally came down to one and JMM’s to two.

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