JMM hopeful of Soren’s bid, Independents rally behind Koda

August 14th, 2008 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Ranchi, Aug 14 (IANS) The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Thursday said it was hopeful its chief Shibu Soren will soon become Jharkhand chief minister, but the Independent legislators who have been made ministers have opposed the move. “We are hopeful that the issue will be resolved by Aug 16,” Hemlal Murmu, a JMM Lok Sabha member, told reporters here.

“People who are ruling for the past two years may not find it easy to quit. (But) the Independents should not worry and they will enjoy the same importance in the Soren government as they enjoy now,” he added.

Soren Tuesday staked his claim to the post of chief minister but the present incumbent, Madhu Koda, refused to resign. Koda himself is an Independent, or unattached, legislator.

Soren’s demand has found support from the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which are supporting the government of Koda.

The JMM chief supported the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the crucial trust vote in the Lok Sabha July 22, which Prime MInister Manmohan Singh won comfortably.

The ministers who either belong to smaller parties or are Independents have, meanwhile, expressed their solidarity with Koda. They met Koda at his residence Wednesday night.

“Eight Independents are united. We do not feel any need for change of leadership in the state. If needed, we will go New Delhi and put our views to central UPA leaders,” said Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi, an Independent legislator.

The ninth unattached legislator, Bandhu Tirkey, who is minister in the Koda cabinet, did not join them.

Jharkhand Congress leaders have denied the party has received any directive from the central leaders.

“Congress legislators will go New Delhi on Aug 18 and brief the central leaders about the political situation. We have not received any directive from the central leaders regarding supporting the government,” said Niel Tirkey, a Congress legislator.

Soren returned from New Delhi to Ranchi Wednesday night. He was meeting party leaders and legislators to know their views.

The JMM, which has 17 legislators, will hold a meeting Aug 17 and may decide on its support to the state government.

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