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Hemant not to step down

Ranchi, May 18: Chief minister Hemant Soren is in no mood to follow in the footsteps of his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, who stepped down yesterday taking moral responsibility for the JD(U)’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections in the neighbouring state.

Hemant, instead, wants to continue leading the JMM-Congress-RJD government in the state, until the Opposition parties or allies try to bring him down.

“As long as I am on the chief minister’s chair, I will discharge my duties honestly. The Lok Sabha election results have once again proved that the people in Jharkhand have great faith in the JMM,” he claimed.

Hemant, who spearheaded the JMM to victory in Dumka and Rajmahal, blamed other regional parties for providing tacit support to the BJP, which clinched 12 out of the 14 seats in Jharkhand.

While Shibu Soren retained the Dumka seat, Vijay Hansda wrested Rajmahal from the BJP. These two apart, the JMM had also fielded candidates in Giridih and Jamshedpur, while extending support to the Congress nominees in nine other seats and the RJD in one.

“JVM and Ajsu workers, in particular, supported the BJP candidates, which, in turn, led to the defeat of UPA nominees in most of the constituencies,” Hemant alleged.

Ally Congress, which suffered a humiliating defeat nationally and lost its lone Ranchi seat in Jharkhand, is unlikely to mount pressure on Hemant to own up the responsibility for the UPA’s loss in the state.

When asked, state Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat said that his party would not ask Hemant to go, at least not now.

“In Bihar, Nitish Kumar tendered his resignation to save his party from vertical splits. In Jharkhand, there is no problem as such. Here, supporters of all the ruling parties stand united and their MLAs are firmly supporting the Hemant Soren government. If the BJP and its allies feel that we do not have requisite strength in the Assembly, they should move a no-confidence motion,” argued Bhagat, talking to The Telegraph.

Sources pointed out the Congress was not in a position to blame others when the people across the country had rejected the grand old party.

The Congress contested nine Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand, but failed to win even one, despite support from the JMM and the RJD.

Upbeat over his own victory in the face of NaMo wave, JMM patriarch Shibu Soren told a section of media in Dumka last evening that the Congress was free to withdraw support from the Hemant government.

“The voters still have faith in the JMM. The party will continue to work for growth of Jharkhand, no matter what,” he added.