Shibu Soren’s son meets Sonia on forming Jharkhand government


New Delhi : Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Shibu Soren’s son Hemant Soren and the Congress party’s state unit chief Pradeep Balmuchu Tuesday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss government formation in Jharkhand which is under President’s rule.

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Soren, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha two days ago, described the meeting with Gandhi, also United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson, as a “courtesy call”. He said they had come to congratulate her on the victory of UPA candidates in the Jharkhand Rajya Sabha elections.

Dhiraj Prasad Sahu, another newly-elected Rajya Sabha member, was also present.

Asked about the formation of government in Jharkhand, Soren said that the Congress’ state in-charge K. Keshav Rao was away and the issue would be discussed after June 27.

Soren declined to answer pointed questions on whether the issue had been discussed with the Congress president.

Meanwhile, Independent legislators and those from the Congress and JMM have arrived in Delhi to explore the possibility of formation of a new government.

According to sources, although the top leadership of the Congress and the JMM aren’t in favour of forming an alternative government and there is talk of holding early assembly elections, pressure is mounting from party legislators as well as the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to form an alternative government.

Jharkhand came under president’s rule on Jan 19, after then chief minister Shibu Soren lost the Tamar assembly by-poll, and no consensus could be arrived at on the leadership of an alternative government.

According to sources in the Congress, the party is insisting on having its own chief minister in case of government formation.

The numbers required to muster majority in the state assembly have now come down to 37 as eight seats in the 81-member assembly are vacant.

Six legislators have been elected Member of Parliament and two others, including Shibu Soren, have resigned from their seats for different reasons, reducing the strength of the assembly to 73.

Nine months are still left for the Jharkhand assembly. The state is scheduled to go to polls in March next year.