The Congress has told Shibu Soren to step down as chief minister of Jharkhand following his defeat from Tamar even as the tribal leader, keen to hold on to ‘office’, reportedly proposed that his wife Rupi be installed in his place. The party has turned down the proposal as well as a few others floated by Soren, who came to Delhi to meet the Congress and RJD leadership to decide on his course of action.
Soren reportedly said that if Independent legislator Madhu Koda is re-instated as Jharkhand chief minister, his son should be included in the state cabinet and he should be brought back to the Union Cabinet. He also hinted of contesting from Jamtara, the seat BJP rebel Vishnu Bhaiya vacated on Friday.
After conferring with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her political secretary Ahmed Patel the Congress’s Jharkhand in-charge Ajay Maken told Soren to resign as chief minister. “His defeat is a setback for the government. The people’s verdict should be honoured,’’ spokesman Shakeel Ahmed later said.
Dejected and virtually reconciled to quitting, Soren however said that he would consult his party
before deciding his future course of action.
“I have lost as CM. Hence I will have to think on the
issue of continuing as CM,’’ he told reporters here. The JMM leader has also sought an appointment with Sonia but has not yet heard from her.
The Congress, sources said, would like a spell of President’s Rule before the state goes for simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls. But RJD leader Lalu Yadav — whom Soren later was to meet — could queer the pitch.
The seven-member RJD legislature party is against Central Rule, thereby raising speculation that the party could pitch for power, with Annapurna Devi as a claimant for the post .
The Congress may find it difficult to reject the claim outright even if it appears to be another embarrassing experiment in Jharkhand that included Koda’s two year stint and Soren’s four month term.