The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Short of six at Lalu breakfast

New Delhi, Sept. 13: Ahead of tomorrow’s Assembly session to decide the fate of the Arjun Munda government in Jharkhand Assembly, RJD chief Lalu Prasad today hosted breakfast for 37 UPA legislators and claimed the support of six other MLAs who could not come.

All the MLAs later left for Ranchi in a chartered aircraft.

While releasing the list of 43 MLAs and claiming an edge in the game of numbers in the 81-member Assembly, Lalu Prasad asserted that the ranks of the UPA could swell as there were many “disgruntled” legislators in the NDA in Jharkhand.

The suspense, however, continued as to who would head the UPA in the state in case chief minister Arjun Munda fails to win the trust vote tomorrow, expected to be held either tomorrow or on Friday.

The RJD boss, while talking to mediapersons after the breakfast meeting, kept evading a direct reply to this question. “Madhu Koda has all my blessings,” was all that he was willing to say.

The JMM MLAs, however, continued expressing their reservations — although only in private conversations — that Independent MLA Koda might not be able to provide a stable government.

According to sources in the JMM, lobbying has intensified to get Shibu Soren the top post. Political circles are agog with rumours that in order to fulfil his chief ministerial ambitions, Soren might even walk out of the UPA and take the support of the BJP to form a government in the state.

However, sources in Ranchi said that arrangement might not be acceptable to the BJP.

As the deadlock continued, the Congress preferred to maintain silence over the vexed issue. Talking to mediapersons, party spokesperson Satyabrata Chaturvedi said: “The Congress has no role in the developments in Jharkhand.”

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