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Jharkhand government in trouble after JMM withdraws support

The JMM Monday withdrew support from the BJP-led Arjun Munda government here over the issue of "rotation of power", reducing it to a minority in the 82-member house and plunging the state into a political crisis.

"Today (Monday) we have decided to withdraw support from the government," Deputy Chief Minister Hemant Soren and son of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren told reporters here.

"We had put some points before the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. The points include change of guard and sharing of power after 28 months," he said.

The party also sought apology from a BJP MP for allegedly passing indecent remarks about the JMM chief.

Shibu Soren
Shibu Soren. File Pic/Bipin Kokate

"The decision when the support will be formally withdrawn will be taken by party chief Shibu Soren," he said.

Asked when his party would go to the governor's house to formally convey the withdrawal of support, he said: "We will inform (the reporters)."

The JMM executive committee met here earlier Monday.

Chief Minister Arjun Munda also met Shibu Soren for half-an-hour earlier Monday to defuse the crisis over the issue of "rotation of power" between the coalition partners. Munda did not speak to media after the meeting.

The JMM Sunday night announced it would take a decision at its executive committee meeting Monday on whether or not to continue its alliance with the BJP.

Relations between the two had been strained ever since Munda in a written reply to the JMM Jan 3 denied that there was an agreement between them on "rotation of power" after 28 months in office.

The 28-month period ends January 10.

The JMM has five ministers in the BJP-led cabinet, including Deputy Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

The BJP-led government headed by Munda was formed in September 2010 with support of the JMM, which has 18 legislators in the assembly.

Apart from the BJP's own 18 legislators, the party also has the support of six All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) members and two Janata Dal-United (JD-U) members. 

The BJP had, however, today downplayed Soren''s threat to withdraw support to the Arjun Munda-led coalition government in Jharkhand, saying it is the democratic process that matters and no compromise will be made with principles and promises.

"The government (in Jharkhand) is not a major subject. The Bharatiya Janata Party had taken the responsibility to ensure that there is a democratic process in Jharkhand along with the JMM and the AJSU. There was a common minimum programme, and the Chief Minister Arjun Munda has just clarified it in his letter two days before," BJP General Secretary Dharmendra Pradhan told the media in New Delhi.

" It is the democratic process not the government, which matters for the BJP, and we will not compromise with our principals and promises," he added.

Pradhan, who was assigned additional responsibility to look after the party activities in Jharkhand in August 2011, further said Arjun Munda has clarified everything, and added that it is not a matter of being right or wrong.

"We still hope that every issue can be solved in the coordination committee meeting headed by Shibu Soren. The BJP is doing everything to maintain a democratic process in Jharkhand, will continue to do whatever is possible in its limitations," said Pradhan.

"It was not a pre-poll arrangement. We all have our own politics and ideology. We have come together to provide a stable government in the state under a common minimum programme, and whatever is going to be in future, will be done according to that promises only," he added.

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