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Jharkhand to have new BJP-led government

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, May 8 (IANS): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is to head a new coalition government in Jharkhand, bringing to an end the lingering political crisis in the State, a party spokesman said on Saturday.

The development came after a meeting this morning between BJP president Nitin Gadkari, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren and the All Jharkhand Students Union's (AJSU) chief Sudesh Mahato here.

BJP leader Ananth Kumar told reporters after the meeting that the three coalition partners have unanimously decided to form the new BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government in Jharkhand.

The new Chief Minister will be chosen by the BJP. This will be the eighth government in the State in nine years.

The political crisis was triggered when the BJP threatened to withdraw support after JMM chief Shibu Soren voted in favour of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in Parliament on April 27 against the BJP's cut motion.

Shibu Soren, who has not completed even six months in office, is expected to step down as Chief Minister. He was elected to the Lok Sabha and continues to be its member.

"Our State has been in crisis for the last nine years... We have decided to form the new government and the new Chief Minister will be decided by the BJP. It is their decision," Hemant Soren, Shibu Soren's son, told reporters.

Mahato said the meeting was "fruitful" and the crisis has been resolved. "We have decided to form a new government led by the BJP for a stable and strong government in Jharkhand," Mahato said.

The decision, he said, was taken to let the coalition complete its full term. "Other terms and conditions are yet to be decided. We will form a common minimum programme."

In the 82-member Jharkhand Assembly, the JMM and the BJP have 18 members each and the AJSU five. The Congress has 14, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) of former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi has 11, while the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has five and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) two. The others are mainly Independents.

This will be the third BJP-led government in Jharkhand where shaky coalitions have been the norm ever since the state was carved out of Bihar Nov 15, 2000. No party has been able to get a clear cut majority in any assembly election.

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