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Cagey JMM gives Cong jitters

delhi Updated: Jul 12, 2008 02:25 IST
Nagendar Sharma
Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times
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The first hurdle in the UPA’s road to a smooth trust vote has come from the JMM, which made it clear on Friday that it was yet to finalise its stand on the issue.

The JMM stand is bound to make the Congress managers nervous, who have been counting its five Lok Sabha Members in their list of 236 UPA MPs, apart from the 39 of Samajwadi Party to cross the magic mark of 272 in the House.

Though its MP Hemlal Murmu attended the meeting of UPA leaders in Delhi, party chief Shibhu Soren said in Bokaro that a final decision on the matter was yet to be taken.

“It is a complex matter and a final decision on the nuclear deal would be taken in our parliamentary party meeting soon,” Soren told HT.

Asked if he was unhappy with the UPA for not re-inducting him into the Cabinet following his acquittal in the murder case of his secretary, Soren declined to comment saying, “all this goes on in politics”.

Sources in the Congress said they were aware that a close associate of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan was in touch with the JMM leaders to influence their decision for the confidence vote.

Soren, who was made a cabinet minister when the UPA government was formed in May 2004, had to resign twice from the Cabinet following a murder charge against him. Soren was found guilty of conspiring to murder his secretary, Shashinath Jha by a Delhi court and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

However, following his acquittal in the case by the Delhi High Court last year, the JMM chief has been since waiting to be made the minister again.

JMM leaders complain that the top Congress leadership has not treated their party well in the past. “Our party chief Shibhu Soren was even denied appointments by top leaders of the alliance, which is now dependant on our support and it is the right time to remind them about all this”.