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Cong may not join Jharkhand Govt

india Updated: Sep 15, 2006 19:16 IST
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Having succeeded in dislodging the Arjun Munda government, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is grappling with a whole new set of problems with indications that the Congress itself would stay out and prop from outside the regime led by independent Madhu Koda.

Chief Minister-designate Madhu Koda, a minister in the Munda cabinet who was instrumental in toppling the 18-month-old National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, is finding it difficult to give shape to his government.

He has left everything to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren, Congress leaders and others.

The numbers game is complicated with independents ruling the roost, leaving little scope for the Congress that leads the UPA.

"It is indeed a difficult task to satisfy everyone while forming the government. The independents cannot be ignored and most of them will be inducted in the cabinet. Considering the numbers, the Congress has decided to support the government from outside," said a senior Congress leader.

In Jharkhand, the cabinet can have a maximum of 12 ministers, including the chief minister.

From the 12, seven independents will have to be accommodated, including Madhu Koda himself and the three rebel ministers of the Munda government - Kamlesh Singh, Enos Ekka and Harinarayan Rai.

The other five slots will be divided between the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which might get three berths, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) with two portfolios.

The eighth independent legislator Stephen Marandi is undecided whether to join the government or not.

The wrangle, it is learnt, doesn't get over with just the numbers.

The struggle is also over key ministries like home, rural development, road and construction and mines.

JMM wants home as it is the largest party of the UPA with 17 legislators. Of the others, the Congress has nine legislators and the RJD, seven in the 82-member Assembly.

Both the JMM and the RJD want the post of deputy chief minister. To complicate matters further, Enos Ekka wants it too.

According to sources, the Congress has claimed the post of Speaker with Inder Singh Namdhari already tendering his resignation.

The party wants Pradeep Balmuchu who was filling in for Ramdhari in the short-lived Shibu Soren government to be appointed to the post.

The road ahead could prove to be bumpier than the task of toppling the NDA government, which went out of office on Thursday with Arjun Munda quitting even before the proposed trust vote could be held.

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