Central UPA leaders to decide on Soren successor

January 13th, 2009 - 1:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiRanchi, Jan 13 (IANS) With the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in Jharkhand failing to agree on a successor for Shibu Soren as chief minister, it has been left to the central leaders of the coalition to come up with a consensus candidate. Shibu Soren, chief of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), and former chief minister Madhu Koda are to leave for New Delhi later Tuesday to meet the central UPA leaders.

The state’s ruling alliance met Monday night and decided to authorize the central leaders, like Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and Railways Minister Lalu Prasad, to decide the next chief minister.

The meeting was held at the chief minister’s residence and attended by all the UPA partners. The leaders were unable to agree on a single name for the top job. While the JMM is sticking to Champai Soren for the post, the RJD is keen that Koda, an independent legislator, be made chief minister again.

After the meeting, Shibu Soren told reporters: “The JMM is the single largest party and we have projected Champai Soren as our next chief minister candidate.” He added, “The final decision will be taken after consulting Sonia Gandhi and Lalu Prasad.”

After giving in his resignation Monday, Soren had said: “Either Champai is selected or elections are the only option.”

The UPA partners are not keen on Champai Soren. They feel he will be a dummy candidate and would be replaced by Shibu Soren after he gets elected to the state legislature.

“We cannot allow the JMM to do political experiments one after another. Champai is a dummy candidate and he could be replaced by Soren after two months,” a senior Congress leader told IANS.

Political experts however feel that the UPA partners will fall in line if the JMM sticks to its stand. Most of the UPA partners are not in favour of facing elections. The central UPA leaders may ask Shibu Soren to suggest another name to replace Champai.

Shibu Soren resigned Monday following an ultimatum set by his allies in the UPA after his defeat in the crucial Tamar by-election.

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