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Soren resigns,firm on Champai as successor

Bowing to mounting pressure by the UPA,following his defeat in the Tamar Assembly bypoll,Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren...

Written by Manoj Prasad | Ranchi | Published: January 13, 2009 11:44:54 pm

Bowing to mounting pressure by the UPA,following his defeat in the Tamar Assembly bypoll,Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren on Monday resigned from his post. He also sought to reopen a dialogue with the UPA on his proposal to appoint party MLA from Saraikela,Champai Soren,as his successor.

Minutes after handing over his letter of resignation to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi,Soren said that he had followed the directive of the UPA leadership and “now,it is up to them to support his candidate”.

Soren’s move came after Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political advisor Ahmed Patel,party’s state in charge Ajay Maken,and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav asked him to resign. Ending the five-day long speculation on his continuance in the top post,Soren drove to the Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation to the Governor. However,before he could make it to the Governor’s house,his deputy Stephen Marandi,who had been most vocal on the issue of the Chief Minister’s resignation after his defeat to Jharkhand Party nominee Gopal Kirshna Patar,arrived there and put in his papers.

“The CM should have resigned soon after his defeat. Since that has not happened I have put in my papers,” he said and left as Soren’s carcade entered the Raj Bhavan.

On Saturday,Soren had chaired the meeting of his MLAs and named Champai Soren as his successor. He called up Patel,Maken,Yadav. But none of them responded. Soren later told reporters that JMM would not back out from projecting party MLA Champai Soren as his successor. “We have decided that Champai Soren is our (chief ministerial) candidate. I have informed the UPA leaders. I also called a meeting inviting state UPA allies,but none came. The JMM will not change its decision,” he said.

“If our proposal is not accepted,we will prefer to go to the polls,” said JMM’s secretary Shailendra Bhattacharya.

In the 81-member Assembly,the Soren government had survived with a thin majority of 43 MLAs — JMM’s 17,Congress’ nine,RJD’s seven and 10 Independents. None of these UPA partners had come out in support of Soren’s proposal. Even within the JMM,there was no consensus over Champai Soren. Apart from Deputy CM Sudhir Mahato,two MLAs,Sushila Hansda and Mathura Mahato,had opposed his candidature.

The NDA,led by former CM Arjun Munda,had demanded,“The most serious issue before all of us is to strengthen our economy and open job avenues. This would be possible only when the polls are held afresh.”

Now,the UPA has three options: First,to accept Soren’s proposal; secondly,promulgate President’s rule in the state; and third,pressurise Soren to appoint someone else like former CM Madhu Koda as his successor.

Meanwhile,in the wake of Soren resigning from the chief ministership,the Opposition on Monday demanded the imposition of President’s rule in the state to pave way for the fresh elections.

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