JMM-BJP - from friend to foe and friend again?

The ruling JMM and the BJP may have just parted ways but most leaders of both parties are not averse to joining hands again.

Ranchi: In the shifting sands of political equations in Jharkhand, nothing is quite as it seems. The ruling JMM and the BJP may have just parted ways but most leaders of both parties are not averse to joining hands again, say sources, even as the Congress explores possibilities of forming an alternative government.

According to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha insiders, 12 of the 18 legislators are in favour of getting back with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The JMM has also formed a two-member committee with Chief Minister Shibu Soren`s son Hemant and legislator Champai Soren to hold talks with the BJP.

"JMM is open to going either with the BJP or the Congress. Most party leaders want to again join hands with the BJP but it is too early to jump to any conclusion. Everything depends on the response of the BJP and rebel party legislators," a JMM leader told a news agency.

He said the JMM is trying to pacify rebel legislators and persuading them not to make any statements. But so far the rebels were sticking to their guns.

"We stick to our old stand. Six party legislators are with us," said legislator Teklal Mahto, who along with Simon Marandi has been against the tie-up with the BJP from the beginning.

Three days after the BJP withdrew support to the Soren government, reducing it to a minority, the situation in the BJP is not too different either. Former chief minister and BJP national secretary Arjun Munda has said options were open.

Munda enjoys the support of a majority of the party legislators and he was front runner for the post of chief minister when the JMM announced its support for a BJP-led government. Soren then said he had changed his mind, and the arrangement ended before it had even begun.

According to sources, Hemant Soren is in touch with Munda to end the bitterness and create a conducive environment to bring both parties together.

However, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha said: "The BJP will not take the initiative to form government in the state."

The Soren government, in a minority after the BJP withdrew support on Monday, has been asked by Governor M.O.H. Farook to prove his majority by May 31.


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