JMM crucial meeting to decide on Koda's fate begins

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Ranchi, Aug 17 (UNI) The crucial Central committee meeting of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) began here this morning, to take the final decision over continuance of support to Madhu Koda-led UPA government even as Independent MLAs hoped that ''a midle path'' can be worked out to avoid president rule in the state.

Significantly, Health minister, Bhanu Pratap Shahi, a pro-Koda Independent MLA and HRD minister, Bandhu Tirkey (UGDP), a pro-Soren legislator were also present in the meeting for a brief period.

Coming out of the meeting, which was still on, Mr Tirkey refused to comment on the political development saying everything would be clear by this evening.

Mr Shahi said, ''guriji'' (Shibu Soren) is the father figure of the state and all legislators were like his ''sons''.

Process was on to find a ''middle path'' to prevent president's rule, he added.

After today's meeting Mr Soren is scheduled to meet the governor this evening either likey to withdraw support or stake claim to form the government led by him.

Mr Soren with 17 legislators need support of Independent MLAs as Congress with 7 and RJD with 9 MLAs had indicated that they would not have any problem if the JMM president became the chief minister.

The house, with the total strength of 82 MLAs, at present has 81 members following the assassination of Mr Ramesh Singh Munda (JD-U).

However, some Independent MLAs were reluctant to see change in leaderhip in the state with Deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi and Water Resources minister Kamlesh Singh openly giving their piece of mind in this regard besides Mr Shahi.

UNI PRS RH/src1311

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