JMM extends olive branch, says Soren ready to resign

In a last-ditch effort to salvage its government in Jharkhand, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha tonight extended an olive branch to BJP, which withdrew support reducing it to a minority, saying chief minister Shibu Soren was ready to resign and a new leader could be installed.

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2010, 23:31 PM IST

Ranchi: In a last-ditch effort to salvage
its government in Jharkhand, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha tonight
extended an olive branch to BJP, which withdrew support
reducing it to a minority, saying chief minister Shibu Soren
was ready to resign and a new leader could be installed.

"Shibu Soren is ready to resign if the BJP leadership
thinks his voting against the cut motion has hurt it and BJP
should review its decision to withdraw support to Jharkhand
government," Soren`s son Hemant told a press conference here.

He said JMM "is also asking BJP to initiate forming a
government under another leader if it thinks Soren has
committed any mistake."

Questioned when Soren would resign, Hemant said
"tomorrow our JMM legislature party meeting will meet to take
a decision."

Earlier in the day, BJP withdrew support to Shibu Soren,
hitting back the Chief Minister`s voting against the cut
motion in the Lok Sabha.

Asked if JMM is with the UPA, Hemant said "we are with
the NDA".

Hemant said "the error during the voting was committed
by the Chief Minister due to his indisposition. For this, we
met the BJP`s President and expressed our regret."

"For his error the chief minister is ready to put
in papers", he said.

"We understand BJP`s feelings following this
misunderstanding and JMM leadership expresses its solidarity
with the party," Hemant said in a press release after a
marathon meeting with party leaders, including the Chief
Minister.

JMM leader Suraj Mandal accused Congress of launching
the propaganda that Soren had voted in favour of that party.

"Soon after that, I spoke to Shibu Soren who said he
had voted by mistake. Any person can commit error. I hope the
BJP leadership will consider the JMM`s request for a
review of its decision of withdrawing support to the Soren
government," Mandal added.

Deputy Chief Minister and AJSU President Sudesh Mahto
also joined the meeting but did not address the press.

Hemant, however, ducked a question on whether the JMM
would accept any leader that its ally BJP would decide upon.
"Let the decision be made," he said.

After Soren voted against the cut motion, speculation was
rife in political circles here that he had done it to push
Hemant to the Chief Minister`s chair.

Earlier, the JMM`s executive body meeting on April 25 had
failed to decide an assembly seat for Soren to contest for
entering the assembly.

Soren left for Delhi the next day to participate in the
Lok Sabha proceedings.

There had been reports that Hemant and Sita,
daughter-in-law and widow of Soren`s eldest son Durga, were
not quitting their seats to make way for the elder Soren to
fight a bypoll by June-end.

"These are rubbish. We dismiss such baseless charges,"
Hemant Soren said.

PTI