Jharkhand Congress MPs renew demand for govt formation
New Delhi: With Jharkhand facing political uncertainty, Congress MPs from the state on Thursday renewed their demand for government formation during an interaction with Rahul Gandhi.
PCC chief Pradip Balmuchu, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, as well as former Union Minister Subodhkant Sahay pitched for Congress forming a coalition government in the state, saying that the party needed to go for a tie-up in the next Lok Sabha polls.
The state is under President's rule following the fall of BJP-JMM government headed by Arjun Munda in January and two years are still left in the tenure of the Jharkhand Assembly.
Balmuchu is learnt to have told Gandhi that a large number of Congress MLAs as well as those from JMM are in favour of forming a government to which the Congress Vice President asked him to furnish the list of such MLAs, saying he would take up the issue with Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
While the state leadership of Congress was keen to form a government in the state, Sonia Gandhi appeared to have had reservations on the issue.
JMM top leaders had also come here but they could not meet any senior leader beyond the AICC in-charge for the state Shakeel Ahmed.
Congress has never been in power in Jharkhand since it was carved out of Bihar in 2000. Congress had allied with Shibu Soren-led JMM and Lalu Prasad's RJD in 2004 Lok Sabha elections and the combine had won 12 of the 14 seats. When Congress fought alone in 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Subodhkant Sahay was the lone party leader to win a seat.
In Assembly elections, Congress had tied up with JMM in 2005, while it had allied with Babulal Marandi's JVM (P) in 2010. Marandi had parted ways with UPA recently on the issue of FDI in multi-brand retail.
The leaders from Jharkhand explained to Gandhi the 'pluses and minuses' of aligning with both JMM and JVM (P).
Sources said that Sahay, a former Union Minister, said in the meeting that BJP had been in power in the state in last 12 years because of Congress' 'unwillingess' to explore the possibility of government formation due to fractured mandate and there was little likelihood of Assembly elections throwing up a clear verdict.
Sahay is also learnt to have said that the state's development is suffering under the circumstances and referred to the the state's budget lapses every year.
Balmuchu said that not aligning now and then having alliance in 2014 may not be correct.
He also met Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Earlier, he had met senior party leader A K Antony, who heads the party sub-group to explore alliances for the next general elections.