Jharkhand Mukti Morcha wants party candidate as chief minister

January 9th, 2009 - 4:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Jan 9 (IANS) Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Friday said that the next chief minister should be from the party as it is the largest constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition in the state. “If Shibu Soren resigns, then we want his successor to be from our party. We are the single largest party of the UPA in the state,” senior JMM leader and Agriculture Minister Nalin Soren told IANS.

Shibu Soren had Thursday lost the crucial Tamar by-poll and was thus foiled in his attempt to enter the legislature. Having taken over as chief minister Aug 27, 2008, he had to become a member of the legislature within six months to satisfy constitutional obligations.

Asked about the possibility of replacing Soren by his wife Rupi Soren, the minister declined to comment on it. He said Shibu Soren would decide whether the next chief minister would be an sitting legislator or not.

Supriyo Bhattacharya, general secretary of JMM, said they would discuss the issue at the party central committee meeting Saturday. Asked about the possibility of either Shibu Soren’s wife or eldest son Durga being his successors in the post, he said they could not be ruled out.

“We have called central committee meeting on Saturday. The meeting will discuss the outcome of Tamar by election and party’s future course of action,” Bhattacharya added.

Meanwhile, the chief minister left for New Delhi Thursday night along with Human Resources Minister Bandhu Tirkey and former chief minister, Madhu Koda.

According to sources, Soren may try to place his wife or eldest son as the next chief minister. However, neither is a member of the state legislature.

At the same time, the sources said, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad is interested in giving a second chance to Madhu Koda, who was chief minister before Soren. Lalu Prasad had emerged as the saviour of Koda many times when he was in trouble.

Congress leaders have reservations about Koda, and the party had launched a campaign against him when he was chief minister.

The UPA has support of 41 members in the 82 member state legislature. These include 17 legislators of the JMM, nine of the Congress and seven of the RJD. The other eight belong to smaller parties or are independents.

The opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has 34 legislators - 29 of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including five suspended legislators, four of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and an independent. The remaining seven members are undecided.

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