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Hemant Soren to stake claim to form Jharkhand government

Armed with the support of 42 MLAs in the 82—member Jharkhand assembly, JMM legislature party leader Hemant Soren would formally stake claim to form government on Tuesday.

‘The JMM leader sought time between 5pm and 6pm to stake claim for a new government formation, and governor Syed Ahmed gave him time at 5.30 pm,’ said an official attached to Raj Bhavan. The development comes nine days before the six—month period of President’s rule ends.

On Monday, JMM general secretary Vinod Pandey had said the party would likely stake claim to form the ninth coalition government on Tuesday with the required majority.

Marxist coordination committee MLA Arup Chatterjee, Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch MLA Bandhu Tirkey and three independent MLAs — Bidesh Singh, Chamra Linda and Harinarain Rai — have already extended support to the new Hemant Soren—led JMM/Congress/RJD alliance.

Geeta Koda, another independent MLA and wife of former chief minister Madhu Koda, on Tuesday extended her support.

JMM sources say that a few leaders met Madhu Koda, who is serving a sentence in a corruption case in a Ranchi jail, to request the support of his legislator wife.

Jharkhand Party MLA Enos Ekka said his party has set a 15—point charter and his support to the alliance depends on a written assurance that the demands would be fulfilled by the future government.

Soren has the support of 42 MLAs now and if Ekka lends support, the figure of the new alliance will jump to 44 in the 82—member House. The Congress has already announced its support to the formation of a JMM-led government in the state.

The delay, sources said, could be attributed to the demands that are being put forth by independent legislators in exchange for their support to the JMM.

Some independent legislators want a berth in the cabinet as a condition of their support. Jharkhand can have a maximum of only 12 ministers, including the chief minister, and sources say demands for a cabinet berth are hard to accept.

An understanding has reportedly been reached to grant five cabinet berths to the Congress. The JMM will have to adjust any independents in the cabinet on its own quota of five berths.

In the 82-member Jharkhand assembly, the JMM has 18 seats, the Congress 13 and the RJD five.

This way, the JMM has managed the support of 36 legislators. If the four independents too extend their support, the number of legislators supporting the government would be 40.  The JMM would need the support of at least 42 legislators to form the government.
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