Soren wants successor to be only interim chief minister?

January 11th, 2009 - 6:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia GandhiRanchi, Jan 11 (IANS) Outgoing Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren has announced a candidate to replace him, but is unwilling to step down right now. Sources say the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief wants his successor to be made interim chief minister and plans to take over again after fighting the assembly polls. On Sunday, Soren announced that JMM legislator Champai Soren, from Seraikela seat, would replace him.

According to sources, JMM legislators signed a letter electing Champai Soren as their leader.

Despite getting clear directions from the central United Progressive Alliance (UPA) leaders to quit, Soren is delaying his resignation to ensure his party candidate is anointed as interim chief minister to avoid a constitutional crisis.

Soren has convened a meeting of the state UPA leaders and legislators Sunday evening to discuss about the next chief minister.

The sources said the JMM chief will fight the Jamtara assembly seat and after getting elected to the state legislature replace Champai Soren.

The Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) two key allies of the state UPA have categorically told Shibu Soren to quit. He had earlier reportedly wanted to push his wife and eldest son Durga Soren as next chief minister. However, both are not members of the state legislature - which is a disqualification.

The issue of who will replace Shibu Soren has led to some political twists.

While the JMM insists that the next chief minister should be from the party, the RJD wants former chief minister and independent legislator Madhu Koda to take over.

On Saturday night, the state Congress leaders faxed a message to party president Sonia Gandhi to initiate the process to form the next government, headed by the Congress.

“We have tested the JMM, and the independents. We are not ready to accept any more political experiments in the state. Being the second largest party, the Congress should get a chance to form the next government,” a source in the state Congress party told IANS. The central Congress leaders are however not in favour of forming the next government in the state.

The independents are also upset. They have expressed unhappiness over not being consulted on the issue. “Why is any decision taken without consulting us. We are also part of the state UPA,” said deputy chief minister and independent legislator Stephen Marandi.

Shibu Soren lost the Tamar by-poll by 9,062 votes to Jharkhand Party candidate Raja Peter Thursday.

Soren, who took over charge of the state Aug 27 last year, needed to win the election to remain chief minister as part of the constitutional obligation of getting elected to state legislature within six months. Soren is not a member of the state assembly.

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