RJD chief Lalu Prasad appears to be holding the key to the issue of Jharkhand Chief Ministership as JMM chief Shibu Soren is pressing hard for the top slot in the state replacing incumbent Madhu Koda.
Though RJD has only seven MLAs in the 81-member state assembly, which is a hung house, Prasad wields considerable influence with Koda, an independent MLA being seen as his 'protege.' JMM sources say that Prasad could make or mar Soren's prospects. Party General Secretary Hem Lal Murmu said that the JMM leaders would meet Prasad but declined to specify the issues they will discuss.
Party sources revealed that so far they have not succeeded in meeting Prasad, as the railway minister could not find time due to an illness in his family.
JMM leaders today however held secret deliberations with other RJD leaders on the issue. The party has also roped in independent ministers in the state, as they form an influential block.
Murmu however refused to speak on the party's stand arguing that they are still busy in discussing important things.
Earlier the JMM leaders held a number of meetings with senior Congress leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi over the matter.
Congress is learnt to have told Soren that it has no objection to his demand for Chief Ministership, but he will have to convince it of the majority support.
Earlier the Congress experiment to support Soren as Chief Minister turned out to be a flop show, with the tribal leader forced to bow out of office in a week following failure to prove majority.