Tightrope walk for Soren ahead of trust vote

Ranchi, July 17 (IANS) Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren will seek a trust vote in the assembly Thursday with two of his legislators absconding at a time when every vote will count.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) government suffered a setback Wednesday when the Jharkhand High Court dismissed a petition of party legislator and former minister Nalin Soren to quash the arrest warrant against him.

Another legislator, Sita Soren, is absconding in a 2012 case involving buying of votes in the Rajya Sabha.

The Soren government was formed July 13. He was asked by Goeror Syed Ahmad to prove his majority within a week. A special assembly session has been convened Thursday.

In the 82-seat assembly, he will need the support of at least 42 legislators.

Soren handed a letter of support of 43 legislators to the governor. They include 18 of JMM, 13 of Congress, five of the RJD, seven legislators of smaller parties or independents.

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

Independent legislators Bandhu Tirkey and Chamra Linda are seeking to become ministers in return for their support.

Political experts say the trust vote will be tightrope walk for Soren.

The chief minister's woos may compound as Speaker C.P. Singh is a Bharatiya Janata Party leader.

In the opposition, the BJP, Jharkhand Vikas Mocha-Prajatanrik (JVM-P), All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and Janata Dal-United have 18, 11, six and two members respectively.

CPI-ML's Vinod Singh has said he will vote against the government, taking the opposition strength to 38.

Two legislators in jail have got permission to attend the assembly Thursday. They include Sawana Lakra of Congress and JVM-P's Dullu Mahto.

The BJP is already gloating that the Soren government will fall Thursday.

"Tomorrow will be last day for this government," said BJP state president Rabibdra Rai.

But the JMM is confident. "We will win the trust vote," said JMM's Hemlal Murmu.

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