New Delhi: Amid talk of Assembly polls in Jharkhand likely in July, Congress on Thursday said it will decide within a week whether to try for an alternative government or go for a fresh mandate.

Senior leader Shakeel Ahmed, who is in-charge of party affairs in the state, said the Congress high command will take a call within a week. Ahmed's remarks assume significance as they have come at a time when several party MLAs have become restive. They are in Delhi to press the leadership to try an alternative government, sources said.

MLAs have sought an appointment with Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on Friday to discuss the issue. This is for the first time when any central leader has talked about the option of an alternative government in the state. Congress high command has so far not revealed its mind on the issue.

Most of the state Congress leaders are in favour of forming an alternative government but party chief Sonia Gandhi's reluctance to have any tie up with JMM has prevented formation of government in the state.

President's rule was imposed in the state in January when BJP Chief Minister Arjun Munda resigned after his government was reduced to a minority following withdrawal of support by JMM. In the 81-member Assembly, BJP and JMM have 18 members each.

The Munda government had enjoyed the support of six members of All Jharkhand Students' Union, two of JD-U, two Independents and one nominated member.

Opposition Congress has a total of 13 members, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (P) - 11 and RJD - 5 in the House. CPI-ML (L), Marxist Coordination Party, Jharkhand Party (Ekka), Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch and Jai Bharat Samta Party have one member each besides an Independent.


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