The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ministers back ‘CM’ Soren
- End of long wait

Dumka/Giridih, Aug. 24: On Friday it was the turn of two estranged ministers, Bandhu Tirkey and Bhanu Pratap Sahi, to demand that Madhu Koda be replaced as chief minister by Shibu Soren.

“Guruji alone can put derailed Jharkhand back on track,” claimed the duo, who together called on the JMM chief in Dumka jail and declared, “he is the master of masters and is the right person for the chief minister’s job”.

Non-arrival of the “release letter” from Tihar jail for the second consecutive day forced Soren to spend last night too in jail. A “special messenger” from Tihar, it was informed, boarded the train at Delhi today and would get down at Madhupur tomorrow morning.

With the clamour for Soren as chief minister growing, Soren himself refused to open his cards. Asked at Giridih if he would prefer to re-join the Union cabinet or take over as chief minister, he said: “It will be decided after the Jamshedpur by-election slated for Wednesday next week.”

At Giridih, the additional district judge, Radha Mohan Tiwary, told Soren: “What was destined (his imprisonment) has happened but now we all want a better Jharkhand.” Turning to the superintendent of police, who was in attendance, the judge exclaimed: “When we go outside the state and hear people say negative things about the state, we feel bad; is it not, SP saheb'”

In the Pirtand murder case, in which Soren is also an accused, the police have not been able to track down the three doctors and the investigating officers of the 31-year-old case. Out of the 19 prosecution witnesses, seven are dead, six have deposed in the case and others happen to be doctors and police officers. Two of the police officers and a doctor also died during this period.

The superintendent of police told the court that one of the police officers has possibly settled at Bhagalpur (Bihar) but because of the flood conditions in Bihar, they have not been able to reach him so far.

Meanwhile, Dumka wore a festive look in anticipation of Soren’s release. Party MLAs and supporters today poured into the second capital, hoping to be among the first to greet Soren when he walks out of jail. JMM MLA from Maheshpur (Pakur) Sufal Marandi arrived at the jail on a rickshaw to plead with Soren to take over the mantle of the state government. “He is the solution to all our problems,” explained Marandi to waiting newsmen.

At Soren’s house, party workers had reached from all over Santhal Pargana and some of them declared without hesitation that they had arrived to complain about the behaviour of some of the JMM ministers and leaders, who, in the absence of Soren, had been throwing their weight around.

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