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JMM leaders jockey for cabinet position

Amongst those eyeing a ministerial position are Jharkhand Deputy CM Sudhir Mahto and LS MPs Sunil Mahto and Hemlal Murmu.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2006 13:45 IST

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leaders have started lobbying for a berth in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's cabinet after their chief and coal minister Shibu Soren had to quit following a conviction in a murder case.

Amongst those eyeing a ministerial position in New Delhi are Jharkhand Deputy Chief Minister Sudhir Mahto and Lok Sabha MPs Sunil Mahto and Hemlal Murmu.

While Murmu's supporters are advocating that he should get the post because he also belongs to Santhal Pargana like 'Guruji', as Soren is referred to, Sunil Mahto has already started making rounds of Railway Minister Lalu Prasad's office to plead his case, party insiders said.

Soren's sons, Durga and Hemant, are also in the fray with the view being that they should replace their father. Durga has been legislator twice, while Hemant contested the assembly elections for the first last year but lost.

Moves are also afoot to elevate Soren's wife, Rupi, to the post of United Progressive Alliance (UPA) steering committee chairperson instead of her husband - whose political fortunes took a tumble when he was convicted by a Delhi court last week of the 1994 murder of his secretary Shashinath Jha. His sentencing is expected on Tuesday.

"Rupi Soren will look after the job under Guruji's guidance from jail," said a JMM leader requesting anonymity.

Amidst the churning in the party, there are reports that Stephen Marandi, who had quit the party due to differences with Soren, is trying to make a comeback but only on the condition that he is given charge of the party.

First Published: Dec 04, 2006 13:45 IST