Jharkhand in political flux, headed for central rule

Ranchi/New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Jharkhand appeared headed for a short spell of president’s rule a day after Shibu Soren resigned as chief minister as none of the three major political parties Monday said they were willing to form an alternate government.

Governor M.O.H. Farook Monday summoned the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) to see if they could form a government after Soren stepped down Sunday. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief minister had asked for time till May 31 to prove majority after his government lost the BJP support.

The three parties told Governor Farook that they did not have the numbers to form an alternative government.

Farook is preparing a report on the state which is likely to be sent by late Monday night to the central home ministry. According to sources, Farook could recommend president’s rule as no party has shown interest in forming a government in the state.

State BJP president Raghubar Das told IANS: ‘The governor called us Monday to know our party’s stand on the formation of an alternative government. We have sought time as the issue will be decided by the central leaders.’

A Congress delegation met Farook immediately after the BJP met him.

‘We told the governor that at present we do not have the adequate numbers to form an alternative government. We are not in a hurry to form a government, which we will do after ensuring stability,’ state Congress president Pradeep Balmuchu told reporters.

JVM-P president Babulal Marandi also met the governor and demanded imposition of central rule.

‘If the governor explores the possibility of forming an alternative government, the Congress and JVM-P alliance should be invited first. The two parties are pre-poll allies,’ Marandi told reporters after meeting Farook.

Soren submitted his resignation Sunday evening, a day before he was to prove his majority in the 81-member state assembly. Sources said that eight of the JMM’s 18 legislators refused to face the trust vote Monday.

The JMM-led five-month-old government was propped up by the BJP with 18 members, the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) with five legislators and the Janata Dal-United’s two members.

The Congress has 14 members, the JVM-P 11, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal five legislators. There also are five Independents.

The JMM-led government was reduced to minority after the BJP withdrew support May 24.

After its talks with the BJP collapsed on the issue of sharing power by rotation of 28 months each, the JMM was in talks with the Congress and JVM-P to form an alternative government and avoid a spell of central rule.

But with the Congress and the JVM-P failing to commit support, Soren had no other option but resign.

Jharkhand was plunged into political uncertainty since Soren voted against the BJP’s cut motions in parliament last month.