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Handshake between JD[U]–RJD in Jharkhand: could it turn into embrace in 2014?



Handshake or Hand-wrestling?

Handshake or Hand-wrestling?

Patna/New Delhi: how rapidly and drastically the political alignments and the general scenario in India and Bihar are changing becomes most evident when arch rivals JD[U] and RJD come together in one embrace. It is difficult to say how far this new found empathy will go. But isn’t it like the very impossible happening, right now in Jharkhand, perhaps later, elsewhere? A day after clinching a deal with JMM to prop up a coalition government in Jharkhand, senior Congress leaders met Sonia Gandhi on July 3 to finalise the details of power-sharing formula they are working out with JMM, RJD and some independent MLAs.

According to reports, the new Hemant Soren led government in Ranchi, expected to be installed any time before the mid-July expiry of President’s rule, will see arch-rivals of Bihar politics — RJD of Lalu Prasad and JD(U) of Nitish Kumar — backing it. While the five-member RJD will join the ministry, two member JD(U) may extend outside support. The outside support indicates indicates some reluctance on part of the JD[U] just now. The question is how far will this reluctance go? And is one to read too much into this minor but hugely startling development?

A senior Congress leader clarified that even if RJD joins JMM and Congress, “that should not be seen as any indication of the shape of the alliance to come up in Bihar during the Lok Sabha polls”. On Wednesday senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Hariprasad, Shakheel Ahmed and PCC leaders from Jharkhand briefed Sonia on the emerging details of the ministry making. Congress leaders also held talks with Lalu Prasad and he is slated to meet Rahul Gandhi too. The deal will ensure that Congress gets to contest eight to nine of the 14 Lok Sabha seats from the state in alliance with JMM during the general elections. Congress may also seek the post of the assembly Speaker.

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