Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday held discussions with senior party leaders regarding an alliance with JMM for the next Lok Sabha polls and formation of a coalition government in Jharkhand.
Defence Minister Antony, who chairs the sub-group on alliances for the next general elections, All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary in-charge of Jharkhand B K Hariprasad, AICC General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed, Jharkhand Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat and CLP leader Rajendra Singh met Sonia Gandhi to apprise her of the progress of the talks with JMM so far.
Earlier, Bhagat, Singh and senior state Congress leader Sarfaraz Ahmed met RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Singh said he was 100 per cent sure that the RJD would back the new government in Jharkhand.
The Congress party has agreed to have a JMM Chief Minister in the state which in lieu has consented to give a lion's share of the 14 Lok Sabha seats to the Congress. Shibu Soren's son Hemant Soren, who is tipped to be the next chief minister, held a meeting with RJD chief Lalu Prasad last night to seek his support for the coalition government.
Hours before his meeting with Prasad, Soren had a long discussion with Antony, the Congress President's political secretary Ahmed Patel where further steps in connection with government formation were learnt to have been discussed.
President's Rule was imposed in Jharkhand on January 18 following the resignation of Chief Minister Arjun Munda. In the 82-member Assembly, BJP and JMM have 18 MLAs each. The Congress has a total of 13 members, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha(P) 11 and RJD 5. CPI-ML(L), Marxist Coordination Party, Jharkhand Party (Ekka), Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch and Jai Bharat Samta Party have one member each besides an independent.