Koda meeting Sonia Gandhi for Jharkhand decision (Lead, changing dateline)

August 22nd, 2008 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) Apparently still unwilling to step down to make way for Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) supremo Shibu Soren, Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda is meeting United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi Friday night for a decision on the matter.Soren is likely to manage the numbers for the Jharkhand chief minister’s post with Congress and the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) lending their support.

Koda, who arrived here Friday morning on Gandhi’s invitation, said: “I will be meeting Sonia Gandhi and Lalu Prasad (RJD chief) and will take a decision after the meeting.”

Asked if he would step down as chief minister, Koda said: “Let’s wait and see where matters are headed.”

Koda is to meet Gandhi at her residence late Friday evening.

Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed said: “We are trying for a secular government in Jharkhand to keep communal forces at bay.”

Meanwhile, source at the Congress party headquarters said many MLAs in the state are not in favour of President’s rule.

The 23-month-old Koda government was reduced to a minority Sunday after the JMM withdrew support. In the 82-member house, Koda now has the support of only 25 legislators.

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