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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Leadership posers for Hemant
- JMM MLAs miffed at failure to woo Cong after pullout

Ranchi, March 21: Dissension within the JMM over Hemant Sorenís leadership credentials is flaring up ahead of a meeting on Sunday as the party scion has virtually failed to woo the Congress to form a new state government.

Highly placed sources in the JMM said the meeting of the partyís legislative body had been called under pressure from a section of MLAs who have grown impatient over Hemantís prolonged wait for an overture from the Congress on government formation.

A fresh government with Congress support was widely expected in the JMM cadre at the time of the partyís decision, seen largely as one driven by Hemant, to withdraw support to the Arjun Munda-led BJP regime in January.

The March 24 meeting is scheduled at JMM chief Shibu Sorenís Ranchi residence. The party also is facing an urgency to pick a political line ó wait longer for a final no from the Congress on coalition rule or demand dissolution of Assembly ó in the wake of the Centreís signals on conducting fresh Assembly election in Jharkhand by this year-end.

Significantly, before March 24, sources said, at least eight MLAs opposed to Hemantís leadership have decided to hold a two-day meeting from tomorrow at Tarapeeth in Bengal to pressure him.

The move, sources added, has been led by the partyís Kolhan stalwart Champai Soren. The bad news for Hemant is that the flock of disgruntled MLAs is fast growing.

They include MLAs from Santhal Pargana such as Hemlal Murmu, Mathura Prasad Mahto and Aqil Akhtar.