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Coalition dinner on Soren table

Ranchi, May 23: Allies who break bread together donít break coalitions.

Perhaps that is the logic behind chief minister Hemant Soren and his father, JMM supremo Shibu Soren, hosting a lavish feast this evening at his Kanke Road residence in a bid to keep his flock munching contentedly together.

So, from starters, mocktails, milkshakes and a lavish spread of vegetarian and non-vegetarian items, dinner at the Sorensí was a warm and hospitable affair.

Especially when Lok Sabha poll pickings had been too paltry. The JMM-Congress-RJD alliance had picked up only two seats, both thanks to the JMMís Soren Senior and young turk Vijay Hansdah. Congress and RJD drew a blank.

The unkind EVM verdict ruffled tempers. A hearty dinner was the only political antidote. So, the Soren father-son duo welcomed notables from all friendly camps.

Spotted in the crowd were Congress MLAs Rajendra Prasad Singh, Geetashree Oraon, Mannan Mallick, Banna Gupta, Yogendra Sao; JMMís Haji Hussain Ansari, Champai Soren, Ramdas Soren, Mathura Prasad Mahto, Lobin Hembrom, Paulus Surin, Bishnu Prasad Bhaiya; Jharkhand Partyís Anosh Ekka (who got a permission from a local court to attend the party after conditional bail on graft charges); Trinamulís Bandhu Tirkey; RJDís Annapurna Devi, Suresh Paswan and Janardan Paswan; and MCCís Arup Chatterjee.

Congress state president Sukhdev Bhagat and his RJD counterpart Girinath Singh were also present.

JMM spokesperson Vinod Kumar Pandey, however, strove to give the hospitality a businesslike spin. ďYesterday, the chief minister held a meeting with ministers to get their views on development. Today it was the turn of MLAs. Nothing should be read between the lines,Ē he said.

Those missing from the meeting-cum-dinner gave insiders food for thought.

Conspicuous by their absence till 9pm were JMMís disgruntled MLA Simon Marandi, Jaganathpur MLA Geeta Koda, Panki MLA Bidesh Singh, Trinamul MLA Chamra Linda, among others.

In the recent past, the Hemant government lost MLAs Chandra Shekhar Dubey, Hemlal Murmu and Bidyut Baran Mahto. But the strength of House has reduced to 79 now from 82 (including one nominated). Still, so far Hemant and his allies have the magic figure of 40 MLAs. The BJP also is in no mood to spoil their dinner.


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