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Jharkhand: Confidence vote to be advanced

By Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi
Last updated on: March 04, 2005 17:39 IST
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Jharkhand Governor Syed Sibtey Razi met President A P J Abdul Kalam on Friday morning.

After the meeting, he announced that the March 21 deadline given to Chief Minister Shibu Soren to prove his majority in the House would be advanced.

"I am going to prepone (sic) the deadline and reduce the time [given to Soren]. I am going to discuss the issue with others and then take a decision on the deadline. But it should be clear that the deadline is going to be reduced [advanced]," Razi told media persons outside Rashtrapati Bhavan.
He is likely to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil and announce the new deadline in the evening.

Razi had a 30-minute meeting with Kalam, who had summoned him to explain his decision to invite Shibu Soren to form the government.
Soren was sworn in as Chief Minister on Wednesday despite the National Democratic Alliance parading 41 members of Legislative Assembly – its 36 and 5 Independents - before the governor.

However, Razi justified his action. He said, "It was within the Constitution."

It was the first-ever election in the state after its separation from Bihar in 2000. It required more time than other assemblies and that is why he had given Soren three weeks' time, Razi explained. He, however, did not say why he invited Soren and not the NDA to form the government.

The United Progressive Alliance has 26 legislators in the Jharkhand assembly and claims to have 42 MLAs in its camp, one more than the 41 required for a majority in the 81-member house.

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Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi