Monday, November 29, 1999

BJP``s pick Munda meets Soren; consensus still eludes

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Ranchi, May 16 (PTI) After getting a nod from the leadership to go ahead with government formation in Jharkhand, senior BJP leader Arjun Munda tonight met Chief Minister Shibu Soren, but it appears that a consensus is not evolved to end the three-week-old political crisis in the state. Munda, who was closeted with Soren and his son Hemant at the latter''s residence for about 50 minutes, drove away to his house without speaking to the media. The Sorens also did not speak to the waiting media, indicating that there were some more "glitches" to settle among the allies before installing a new government. Earlier during the day, Munda said, "The BJP leadership has decided that government should be formed in Jharkhand, and has given me the responsibility to talk to the allies in this regard." Asked whether that meant the BJP had officially named him as the chief ministerial candidate, Munda said a decision would be taken at a meeting of the legislative party, where central leaders would be present. BJP sources said the party had not announced Munda''s name for the CM''s post officially due to the death of former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat yesterday. The AJSU, an ally, said the BJP leadership should have selected a tribal MLA for the CM''s post instead of Munda, who is an MP. "Arjun Munda is tribal, but not an MLA. We would like a tribal MLA to take charge.even JMM leader Hemant Soren had on several occasions preferred a tribal who is also a member of the assembly to take over the charge," a senior AJSU leader said. .

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