Governor decides on President's Rule

Ranchi/New Delhi: Jharkhand governor Syed Ahmed has finally recommended imposition of President's rule in Jharkhand as no party has staked claimed to form a government.

The governor sent his recommendation, which also suggests keeping the Assembly in suspended animation, to the Union home ministry tonight after meeting representatives of all political parties in Raj Bhavan during the day.

While the JMM sought more time to form a government, insisting that as many as 43 MLAs (in a House of 82) were in favour, the Congress, too, insisted that the Assembly not be dissolved.

However, the governor did not think it prudent to wait any longer.

The Union Cabinet will now have to meet to approve the recommendation of the governor before it is sent to the President for his signature. This may happen tomorrow.

According to sources, the governor felt there could not be an "indefinite waiting period", though having an elected government was the best option in democracy. JMM leaders, led by Shibu Soren told Ahmed today that his party was in talks with the Congress and other like minded parties and hoped the outcome would be positive.

The JMM leader pleaded with the governor to wait for some time for the negotiations to fructify, a demand also supported by at least six Independents.

Surprisingly, the Congress delegation, led by CLP leader Rajendra Prasad Singh did not also rule out the formation of a government, but conveyed to the governor that a final decision on supporting the JMM would be taken by the party high command.

This position could not convince the governor that a stable government was possible and hence he chose not to extend the period of uncertainty.

The Congress in Delhi was dismissive of the perception that it had given any assurance to the JMM on an alternative government though it did not rule out further negotiations.

If Sonia Gandhi's assessment of the situation and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's view about the JMM are any indication, the Cabinet will not take more than two minutes in approving the governor's recommendation.

An 18member JMM delegation reached Raj Bhavan around 10.30am.

The Congress delegation, led by Singh, followed around 11.30am. Among the others in the team were Geetashree Oraon, Banna Gupta, K.N. Tripathy, Chandrashekhar Dubey, alias Dadai Dubey, and Mannan Mallick.

That the JMM and the Congress decided to approach the governor separately is indicative of the uncertainty surrounding the joint exercise of cobbling together a coalition. Therefore, as sources in both parties indicate, any deal would require some more time to finalise.

Tripathy, who is deputy leader of the Congress legislative party, maintained a final decision was yet to reach them from Delhi. "But we are natural allies and both are against the dissolution of the Assembly or imposition of President's rule in the state," he said.

Asked why the two parties did not meet the governor together, Singh said they acted according to "advice" from their party leadership.

Admitting time wasn't ripe for a "united show" as yet, he told The Telegraph, "Talks are going on and a final decision is to be taken by our central leadership. Moreover, today was not the day to stake claim to form a government. Today was to seek more time."

RJD bats for a new government: Page 4

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