With a broad agreement reached for a Congress-JMM alliance in Jharkhand, leaders from both parties on Thursday discussed the nitty-gritty of government formation in the state and the joint statement to be issued while announcing the pact.
The announcement of the new government in Jharkhand could be made in a day or two as discussions have been completed. The tribal-dominated state is under President's Rule since January 18 after the collapse of the Arjun Munda-led BJP government following the withdrawal of support by JMM on January 8.
A decision has to be taken before July 18 on whether to form a government or extend the term of President's Rule. Hemant Soren, son of JMM leader Shibu Soren, who is tipped to be the next chief minister, drove to the AICC headquarters in the morning, where he was closeted with Congress general secretary in-charge for Jharkhand Hariprasad. Soren, who was supposed to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi for last days, has not got an appointment as yet.
Moreover, he was made to wait for almost an hour in the AICC when he came to meet Hariprasad, which triggered speculation over things going awry for the alliance. However, leaders from both parties dismissed such contentions indicating that the alliance is very much on the cards.
Sources said that Congress wanted a clear assurance from the JMM about the support to the new government by the six independent MLAs. Though there is speculation that Congress CLP leader Rajinder Prasad Singh could be made a Deputy Chief Minister, there was no such indication from the AICC.
Former Union Minister and the sole MP of Congress from Jharkhand Subodh Kant Sahay, who met Hariprasad, later said that the alliance is important for Congress for next Lok Sabha polls more than it is for government formation. Sources in JMM said that the party has agreed to give 10 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats to Congress in which the latter will have to accommodate the RJD.