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All options open, says Soren

india Updated: May 23, 2010 01:04 IST

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Keeping the BJP guessing, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) on Saturday said it was in touch with the Congress and all options were open including changing its alliance.

“It is for the BJP to look for options. I am in touch with both and the Congress and BJP. All options are open. My government will stay,” Shibu Soren, who has to step down as chief minister by June 30 if he is not elected to the assembly by then, told reporters here.

Striking a defiant note, the JMM chief had on Friday said he would complete his tenure, backtracking on his May 18 statement that he would resign after the party reached an agreement with the BJP for sharing power on a rotational basis. The BJP was supposed to head the government first.

Hemant Soren, his son and the JMM’s legislative party leader, was more forthright. “We are also in touch with the Congress, and if the situation warrants, we can change our alliance,” he said.

The BJP, however, accused the Congress of trying to repeat the Madhu Koda-experiment with Independent MLA Bandhu Tirkey by promoting him for the chief minister’s post.

“They had experimented (with Koda) earlier for about 23 months, and now they are trying to repeat the experiment,” BJP national general secretary Arjun Munda, also the party’s chief ministerial candidate, said.

Tirkey said he did not nurse such ‘illusions’ but would support any non-BJP government.

“I don’t have such aspirations. I don’t even desire a minister’s post, let alone the CM’s. I have withdrawn support to the government as we prefer a non-BJP government in the state,” Tirkey said. Tirkey, the lone MLA of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch, had withdrawn support to the Soren government after the JMM offered the BJP the CM’s post.

Hemant said the JMM is determined to complete its full term. He claimed there was no written understanding between the JMM and the BJP that power would be handed to the ally on May 25.