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Coalition plan to topple Koda

Ranchi, Dec. 13: Efforts are on to topple the Madhu Koda government and install an NDA-JMM government in the state.

The exercise is apparently in the final stages and the “conspirators” are expected to move in for the kill as early as next week. The BJP campaign against “tainted ministers” in general and JMM chief Shibu Soren in particular, will not be allowed to “come in the way” of a new coalition.

With both BJP and JMM wary of a mid-term poll, the new coalition, they hope, could avert the prospect and provide a more stable government, in which Independents will have no place. NDA with a strength of 36 in the Assembly and JMM with 17 MLAs, will stake claim with support from 53 MLAs in the House of 81.

The present Koda government enjoys the support of only 43 MLAs. In all probability, claimed insiders, the government will fall on December 19-20 during voting on the supplementary budget. Madhu Koda (in picture) has summoned a rather short winter session of the Assembly, beginning Monday, in a bid to save the fragile coalition from collapsing. But the NDA appears to have inked a gameplan to spoil the party.

If JMM chief Shibu Soren does not agree to the plan, claim these sources, around 12 JMM legislators are expected to break ranks and constitute a separate legislative group in the Assembly and pledge support to the new coalition. To avoid attracting provisions of the anti-defection Act, the break-away group from JMM is required to have a minimum of 12 MLAs and this “magic figure”, claim NDA sources, has been reached.

The name of Sudhir Mahto, the deputy chief minister, is doing the rounds as the JMM leader most likely to lead the revolt, if necessary. Mahto is believed to be close to former chief minister Arjun Munda, and is ambitious enough to make the bid.

Contacted in New Delhi, Hemant Soren, Shibu Soren’s son, denied the move and hoped that party leaders would not let down and defy the JMM chief. State Congress chief Pradeep Balmuchu, however, claimed to be aware of the move but declared that Shibu Soren would do nothing to break away from UPA or topple the government.

JMM sources, on the other hand, say that after the conviction of Soren by the CBI in a murder case, pressure is mounting on them to sever ties with the Congress. What is more, the Koda government being intrinsically unstable, with seven of the 12 ministers being “Independent” MLAs, a mid-term poll remains a distinct possibility — an eventuality they would like to avoid.

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