BJP-JMM talks continue, amid rumours
Talks between the JMM and BJP remained inconclusive after a marathon meeting of almost four hours on Saturday, two days after Hemant Soren pledged support to a BJP chief minister in Jharkhand.
BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh, Ananth Kumar and Jharkhand deputy Chief Minister Raghubar Das met Hemant of the JMM, Sudesh Mahato of AJSU and state JD(U) leader Jaleshwar Mahato to discuss the modalities of
the possible formation of an alternative government in Jharkhand.
However, the talks were long-drawn and inconclusive.
After the meeting, Kumar said, “We met in a cordial atmosphere to discuss matters in the context of Hemant Soren’s letter of two days ago. The talks will continue. We discussed how we can function together in Jharkhand’s interests and how we can keep the Congress out.”
Gadkari will not be in Delhi on Sunday, so the matter is likely to spill over to the next week.
Rumours circulated through the day that the JMM had changed its initial stand and was now asking for Soren to be retained as chief minister till June 30, when six months of
his chief ministership would lapse, after which a BJP leader could take over. One cannot enjoy the office for more than six months without being elected MLA.
However, both Hemant and Sudesh Mahto denied this after the meeting and insisted that there was no such condition.
There was a buzz that the JMM was split over accepting a BJP chief minister and the matter was brought up in the meeting by JMM leaders.
Observers, however, said the BJP was unlikely to accept any such condition as that would amount to a compromise with Soren even after he voted against them on the cut motions. That, too, after they had initially termed his act a betrayal and threatened to withdraw support.
BJP sources said the JMM leaders were told that unless they got their house in order, the government formation would have to wait.