JMM steps up government formation moves in Jharkhand
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) on Friday stepped up efforts to form an alternative government in the state by initiating dialogue with alliance partner Congress.
"The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) will form the government in the state. There is no need to stall an elected government. The assembly elections should take place on time," Sudhir Mahto, former deputy chief minister and senior JMM leader, told reporters in Ranchi.
JMM chief Shibu Soren had to quit as chief minister on Jan 12 after he lost the key Tamar assembly by-election.
Jharkhand has been under president's rule since Jan 19 after no alliance came forward to form an alternative government in the state. The state assembly has been kept under suspended animation.
However, Shibu Soren won both the Dumka Lok Sabha and Jamatara assembly by-election earlier this month.
His party, which heads the UPA in the state, is now keen to return to power.
Party sources said JMM leaders have begun talks with the Congress central leadership for government formation.
Of the 81 seats of the assembly, seven are vacant. Of the 74, the JMM and Congress have 18 and nine legislators respectively. Twelve legislators belong to either smaller parties or are independent. Of them, eight are supporting the UPA. The Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal-United (JD-U) have respectively seven and four legislators in the state. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 22, of whom two are suspended.
The RJD, which was part of the UPA, fought the Lok Sabha elections separately. Whether the party supports a UPA government remains to be seen.
"It is difficult to form a government without the RJD. we are trying to get its support. If it does not back us, we will try to form a government with the help of independent legislators," said a JMM leader.
The current assembly expires in March next year.