'Jharkhand may soon have JMM-led government'

Ranchi, July 2 (IANS) Jharkhand may get a government led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and supported by the Congress and other parties after president's rule in the state ends July 18, a senior JMM leader said Tuesday.

"Talks with Congress are going on in positive direction and the state may soon have a new government led by our party," a JMM leader told IANS.

Senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad, Congress's Jharkhand in-charge B.K. Hariprasad and other party leaders met JMM chief Shibu Soren here Tuesday. "Everything will be cleared before July 18," Ahmad said after the meeting.

Earlier, former deputy chief minister and son of JMM chief Hemant Soren met the Congress leaders Monday night.

Sources in the Congress said the final decision would be taken by the party's central leadership. Hemant Soren is likely to meet senior Congress leaders in New Delhi, they added.

According to the sources, consultations between JMM and Congress leaders are taking place largely on government formation, seat sharing in the forthcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly polls.

The sources said the Congress is seeking to contest at least 11 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

However, it is not yet clear whether the Congress will join the government or extend support from outside. The JMM has 18 legislators in in the 82-member Jharkhand assembly.

The 28-month Bharatiya Janata Party-led Arjun Munda government fell Jan 8 after the JMM withdrew support. On Jan 8 Munda cabinet recommended dissolution of the assembly. Jharkhand was put under president's rule on Jan 18.

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