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Soren eludes Congress leaders

JMM chief Shibu Soren continued to play hide and seek with the UPA in a bid to strike a jackpot in return for bailing out the government in the confidence vote, report Nagendar Sharma and Anil Kumar.
By Nagendar Sharma and Anil Kumar | Hindustan Times, New Delhi/ranchi
UPDATED ON JUL 18, 2008 01:22 AM IST

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren continued to play hide and seek with the UPA on Thursday in a bid to strike a jackpot in return for bailing out the government in the confidence vote.

The controversial tribal leader, now in Delhi, remained elusive through the day, sending out a clear signal to the Congress top leadership that he would not settle for anything less than two ministerial berths for his party at the Centre.

Though Soren was untraceable, his party colleagues demanded the JMM should get its due.

“The JMM was entitled to two ministerial positions in the UPA government since the beginning, but only guruji (Soren) was made minister. Then, he too was asked to quit. We should get our due and respect in the coalition,” said Jharkhand deputy CM Sudhir Mahto. Mahto said the party would take the final decision after the Congress responded.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of Soren likely to be made Coal minister for the third time, top officials of coal companies have started making a beeline to meet him.

Recently, Coal India Limited’s director technical (operation) and CMD-designate, R K Saha, attended Soren’s youngest son’s wedding reception in Bokaro.

JMM workers have reportedly sent letters to coal executives saying Soren would be minister soon. This has put coal officers in a dilemma. During his last tenure as minister, several officers found themselves at the receiving end of Soren’s close associates.

They had to face the wrath of JMM cadres for their recommendations regarding on issues plaguing the coal giant.

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