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Jharkhand headed for polls?

india Updated: Feb 02, 2009 00:14 IST

PTI
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Jharkhand appears headed for fresh assembly elections with consensus eluding UPA over selection of a chief ministerial candidate to lead an alternative government in the state.

Acknowledging the stalemate, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad, also the RJD supremo, who is considered a key player in Jharkhand politics said, "There are no sign of any alternative government in Jharkhand. The existing signs point towards holding fresh elections after dissolving the assembly."

Interestingly, just a fortnight back, Prasad had said, "President's rule is not the solution and hoped that an alternative government would be formed." This was days before the President rule was imposed.

Sources say that RJD, which had then rejected JMM's chosen successor Champai Soren, is in no mood to support even two other names suggested by Shibu Soren as his successor now.

Sticking to its stand of not allowing a non-JMM candidate to head the alternative government, the former chief minister suggested names of JMM MLAs Salkhan Soren and Nalin Soren.

"UPA allies had earlier rejected Champai Soren's name as my successor. Now, JMM legislature party has decided to place the names of JMM MLAs Nalin Soren and Salkhan Soren before the UPA leadership to choose from the two," Shibu Soren said in Ranchi a few days back.

However, neither the RJD nor the Congress in the state seem to be enthusiastic to this offer.

RJD had, already, thrown its hat in the race for the chief ministership with a senior party leader and Union Minister Prem Chand Gupta demanding "RJD should also be given a chance to head the government there."

Sources said the party was trying to secure UPA members support for its legislature party leader in Jharkhand Annpurna Devi.

Congress sources said party MLAs would this time like to have their direct say in the government by participating in any alternative government as they are quite cut up with the last two arrangements in which Congress supported a UPA government from outside.

However, undeterred by the deadlock, JMM leaders have decided to visit the national capital again in the first week of February to meet senior UPA leaders, including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Lalu Prasad.

Shibu Soren's earlier attempt to meet Gandhi had failed as he could not get an appointment last time, an issue which created heartburns among JMM leaders more so as Jharkhand Congress President Pradip Balmuchu was later given appointment by Gandhi.

The Jharkhand assembly is under suspended animation since President rule was imposed on January 19. Shibu Soren had resigned from chief minister's post on January 12 after much dilly-dallying following his defeat in Tamar by-election.