Have 'offer' of Union Cabinet berth: Soren

Have `offer` of Union Cabinet berth: Soren Bokaro: In a further twist to the Jharkhand impasse, Chief Minister of the state Shibu Soren Sunday claimed he had a "pending offer" of a berth in the Union Cabinet and said he would consider it when he felt like accepting it, even as the BJP said the deadlock would end at the earliest.

"Yes, the offer has been there for quite some time. But I will accept it when I feel like," Soren told newsmen in Bokaro when asked if he had any offer of a berth in the Union Cabinet.

Yesterday, Soren had said that all options were open for the JMM and he was in touch with the Congress. Soren said he continued to be the chief minister of Jharkhand and would complete his tenure.

The BJP's national vice-president and party in-charge of Jharkhand affairs Karuna Shukla, meanwhile, said, "I can only say that the final outcome will come at the earliest."

She refused to reply if the decision would come on or after May 25 -- a date the BJP had on May 18 claimed would see swapping of power between the JMM and the BJP -- while Soren denied that any such deal had been struck with his ally.

JMM leader Suraj Mandal, who has been with Soren for three days in Bokaro, said over half-a-dozen JMM MLAs were "against handing over of power to the BJP".

"Under these circumstances if the BJP takes over power, anything can happen on the floor of the House," said Mandal.

The Congress continues to be in a "wait and watch" mode and alleged that the impasse indicates horse-trading.

"We are still in the wait and watch mode. Some seven to eight JMM MLAs are in touch with the Congress ... even Janata Dal(U) MLA Gopal Krishna Patar spoke to me over phone today," Jharkhand PCC president Pradip Kumar Balmachu said.

The Congress, he said, would demand Governor's intervention as per the Constitution "to pull out Jharkhand from the pit of political mess that has been created by the BJP."

AJSU vice-president Praveen Prabhakar said the party had convened an important meeting tomorrow to discuss among others things the current political situation.

"There is a serious communication gap among the allies," Prabhakar observed, referring to contradictory statements emanating from senior partners.

BJP to withdraw support

Frustrated over JMM backtracking on its power-sharing deal in Jharkhand, the BJP has decided to withdraw support to the Shibu Soren Government tomorrow that it will plunge the state into another spell of political crisis.

"The BJP will withdraw support to JMM Government tomorrow," state BJP spokesman Sanjay Seth said tonight, a day after a defiant Soren asserted that he will continue as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand and was in touch with the Congress.

A BJP delegation led by Jharkhand deputy chief minister Raghuvar Das will meet Governor M O H Farrooq at 11.30 AM tomorrow and hand over the letter of withdrawal of support to the JMM Government, Seth said.

Ahead of their meeting, former BJP president Rajnath Singh will hold discussions Arjun Munda, the Chief Ministerial candidate, and Das.

BJP parliamentary board had on April 28 decided to withdraw support to the JMM government after Soren voted against the party-sponsored cut motion against the UPA Government in Lok Sabha a day earlier.

However, the decision was put on hold when JMM Legislature party leader and Soren's son Hemant wrote a letter to BJP chief Nitin Gadkari pledging support to a BJP-led government.

But, the JMM backtracked and demanded rotational power sharing with each party leading the government for 28 months. This was agreed to by BJP on the understanding that Soren will quit as Chief Minister by May 25 after which Munda will head the new coalition government.