Cong, JMM hold talks; tie-up to be announced in couple of days

New Delhi, PTI | Updated : 04 July 2013, 09:49 PM

With a broad agreement reached for a Congress-JMM alliance in Jharkhand, leaders from both parties on Thursday discussed the nitty-gritty of government formation in the state and the joint statement to be issued while announcing the pact.

The announcement of the new government in Jharkhand could be made in a day or two as discussions have been completed.

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.

A decision has to be taken before July 18 on whether to form a government or extend the term of President's Rule.

Hemant Soren, son of JMM leader Shibu Soren, who is tipped to be the next chief minister, drove to the AICC headquarters in the morning, where he was closeted with Congress general secretary in-charge for Jharkhand Hariprasad.

Soren, who was supposed to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi for last days, has not got an appointment as yet.

Moreover, he was made to wait for almost an hour in the AICC when he came to meet Hariprasad, which triggered speculation over things going awry for the alliance.

However, leaders from both parties dismissed such contentions indicating that the alliance is very much on the cards.

Sources said that Congress wanted a clear assurance from the JMM about the support to the new government by the six independent MLAs.

Though there is speculation that Congress CLP leader Rajinder Prasad Singh could be made a Deputy Chief Minister, there was no such indication from the AICC.

Former Union Minister and the sole MP of Congress from Jharkhand Subodh Kant Sahay, who met Hariprasad, later told reporters that the alliance is important for Congress for next Lok Sabha polls more than it is for government formation.

Sources in JMM said that the party has agreed to give 10 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats to Congress in which the latter will have to accommodate the RJD.

Soren in his previous meetings had made it clear to Congress leadership that no alliance for Lok Sabha elections could happen unless a Congress-JMM coalition government is formed in the state.

The sources said both parties will also working on a common minimum programme (CMP).

Congress has agreed to have a JMM chief minister in the state. In lieu, the regional party has consented to give a lion's share of nine to ten Lok Sabha seats to Congress out of a total of 14 in the state.

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.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad has assured both JMM and Congress of his party's support to a new government.

JMM and Congress, which have 18 and 13 MLAs respectively, 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.

Political uncertainties have dogged Jharkhand ever since it was carved out of Bihar in 2000 as the state has remained under President's Rule thrice--2009, 2010 and 2013.

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.

Congress could get five to six ministries. RJD is expected to get two ministerial berths while JMM will have to be content with the Chief Minister's post and four ministerial slots, the sources said.

First Published: Thursday, July 04, 2013 09:48 PM
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