With 40 legislators in the bag, Jharkhand’s chief minister in waiting Hemant Soren spent Monday chasing the support of two more to speed up his ascent to the top post.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha legislature party, however, is confident of its numbers and Hemant could stake claim to form the government on Tuesday. “Hemant Soren is likely to stake claim tomorrow,” JMM general secretary Vinod Pandey said.
Hemant, son of JMM chief Sibu Soren, needs the support of 42 legislators in the 82-member assembly (one nominated member). Jharkhand is under President’s rule, which ends on July 18.
Along with the backing of the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Hemant has letters of support from four independent MLAs — Bandhu Tirkey, Chamra Linda, Videsh Singh and Harinarayan Rai — and this has given him the strength of 40 (see box).
Independent legislator Enos Ekka is expected to submit his letter of support soon. Hemant called on Enos at his house in Simdega on Sunday. While Enos is barred from staying in Ranchi, his wife Menon Ekka is in jail in a disproportionate assets case.
Geeta Koda, the independent MLA from Jagannathpur and wife of former chief minister Madhu Koda, had not assured her support to the JMM till late Monday.
Arup Chatterjee, the lone Marxist Coordination Committee legislator said his party would extend outside support to the government taking shape.
Chatterjee met the JMM chief and his son and made a host of demands including a separate university for the coal belt.
Amid the frenetic activity, the real worry for the JMM remains legislators Sita Soren, daughter in law of the party chief, and Nalin Soren. Both are evading arrest.
The police are looking for Sita in connection with the abduction of her bodyguard, who reportedly knew about her alleged involvement in the cash-for-vote scandal during the 2012 Rajya Sabha polls.
Nalin is wanted by the vigilance department for financial irregularities in seed purchase when he was the agriculture minister.
Both JMM legislators need to surrender to be present in the assembly to back Hemant’s bid.
(with PTI inputs)