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Arjun Munda meets Soren; consensus still eludes

BJP MP from Jamshedpur Arjun Munda on Sunday appeared to be the CM candidate in Jharkhand.



Ranchi: After getting a nod from the
leadership to go ahead with government formation in Jharkhand,
senior BJP leader Arjun Munda tonight met Chief Minister Shibu
Soren, but it appears that a consensus is not evolved to end
the three-week-old political crisis in the state.

Munda, who was closeted with Soren and his son Hemant at
the latter`s residence for about 50 minutes, drove away to his
house without speaking to the media.

The Sorens also did not speak to the waiting media,
indicating that there were some more "glitches" to settle
among the allies before installing a new government.

Earlier during the day, Munda said, "The BJP leadership
has decided that government should be formed in Jharkhand, and
has given me the responsibility to talk to the allies in this
regard."

Asked whether that meant the BJP had officially named him
as the chief ministerial candidate, Munda said a decision
would be taken at a meeting of the legislative party, where
Central leaders would be present.

BJP sources said the party had not announced Munda`s
name for the CM`s post officially due to the death of former
Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat yesterday.

The AJSU, an ally, said the BJP leadership should have
selected a tribal MLA for the CM`s post instead of Munda, who
is an MP.

"Arjun Munda is tribal, but not an MLA. We would like a
tribal MLA to take charge...even JMM leader Hemant Soren had
on several occasions preferred a tribal who is also a member
of the assembly to take over the charge," a senior AJSU leader
said. Munda, who aspires to become CM for the third time,
represents Jamshedpur in the Lok Sabha.

The BJP had taken several days to choose from among Munda
and Deputy Chief Minister Raghuvar Das while the JMM and the
AJSU mounted pressure on it to finalise a candidate soon.

The political stalemate was triggered by BJP`s decision
to withdraw support to the government on April 28, a day after
the chief minister voted against BJP-sponsored cut motions in
the Lok Sabha.

The decision was, however, put on hold following a
request by JMM-LP leader Hemant Soren, who offered the party
the CM`s post.

On May 8, BJP had announced in Delhi that it would head
a new coalition ministry for the remainder of the tenure with
support from JMM and AJSU. However, Soren said in Ranchi that
the chief minister`s post would be on a rotational basis,
stalling government formation.

In the 82-member assembly, the ruling partners have 45
members -- JMM and BJP have 18 members each, AJSU five and
JD-U two and two others.

PTI

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