Hemant Soren stakes claim to form Jharkhand government

Ranchi, July 9 (IANS) Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren Tuesday met Governor Syed Ahmed and staked his claim to forming a government in Jharkhand.

Calling on the governor at the Raj Bhawan at 5.30 p.m., Hemant Soren handed over letters of support from 43 legislators in the 82-member assembly.

He was accompanied by his father and JMM supremo Shibu Soren, Congress state president Sukhdeo Bhagat, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leaders and independent legislators.

Talking to mediapersons later, Hemant Soren said: "We have come together for development of the state."

The 43 legislators include 18 of the JMM, 13 of the Congress, five of the RJD, and seven legislators from smaller parties or Independents.

The seven legislators are Arup Chatterji of Marxist Coordination Committee (MCC), Enos Ekka of Jharkhand Party (JP), Bandhu Tirkey, Geeta Koda - the wife of former chief minister Madhu Koda, Videsh Singh, Chamra Linda and Harinarayan Rai.

Earlier, a meeting of all parties and legislators supporting JMM elected Hemant Soren as their leader.

JMM was trying to form a government since President's rule was imposed in the state Jan 18 following the fall of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Arjun Munda government after the JMM withdrew from the ruling coalition Jan 8.

The moves gained momentum after Congress state in charge B.K. Hariprasad and senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad met Shibu Soren July 2. Hemant Soren went to New Delhi on the same day and held deliberations with Congress leaders about a new government. He, however, could not meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

In lieu of support, Congress succeeded in cementing an alliance for next year's Lok Sabha poll. As per the understanding, it will contest 10 of the state's 14 Lok Sabha seats with the JMM's support.

The present assembly's tenure ends in December 2014. This will be the third government in the current assembly's tenure.

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