Soren, Bandhu leave for New Delhi to meet Sonia

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Ranchi, Jan 24 (UNI) In an effort to break ice with the Congress, a major partner in the UPA-backed Madhu Koda government in the state, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president Sibu Soren today left for New Delhi to meet Congress high command Sonia Gandhi.

State HRD Minister Bandhu Tirkey and Mr Hemlal Murmu, party MP also acompanied ''Guruji''.

As the Chief Minister during his last tour of the national capital could not meet Ms Gandhi, the state leadership of the UPA allies yesterday held a meeting here and persuaded Mr Soren to take up the job of saving the government.

The Congress took a tough stand against Mr Koda charging him with failing to deliver the goods and served a 60-day ultimatum on him ''either to perform or perish'' that ended on January 15.

CWC member and in-charge of party affairs in the state Ajay Maken last week made it clear that the party was not satisfied with the Koda government and added that final decision on pulling out of the ruling alliance would be taken after the February 4 byelection to Simaria assembly seat.

The Congress' relation with other partners turned sour when JMM and RJD decided to support the CPI candidate in the fray. The Congress also hit back fielding separate candidate, a former RJD leader.

Mr Maken justified the stand saying the JMM and RJD had not consulted them before extending support to the Left party.

With the rhetorics among the various state UPA leaders continuing unabated leading to a stand off, hectic parleys marked the political scene in the state capital in the past 48 hours.

Though many of the UPA allies were critical about the Congress pressure tactics, it was understood that a large number of MLAs were not in favour of fresh poll in case of Congress withdrawal of support.

Mr Soren was persuaded to call on the Congress high command and all out effort was made to fix an appointment with her.

Mr Soren yesterday had a telephonic talk with RJD supremo Lalu Yadav in which the latter was requested to help the state wriggle out of the present impasse.

UNI PRS KK BDP VC1905

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