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BJP dumps Soren, son says soren ready to resign
Published on 29 Apr. 2010 12:20 AM IST
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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday withdrew support to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) government in Jharkhand, reducing it to a minority, but the Congress said it was in no hurry to put together a new coalition in the state.
The BJP announced its decision at a meeting of its parliamentary board in New Delhi after JMM chief and Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren, whose government depends on BJP support, Tuesday voted against BJP-sponsored cut motions on federal budgetary grants in the Lok Sabha.
BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar accused Soren, who commands just two members in the Lok Sabha, of behaving “in a dubious manner” and said the BJP had taken a “very serious note” of the “betrayal”.
BJP leader Raghuwar Das, a deputy chief minister in Jharkhand, is expected to meet Governor M.O.H. Farook Thursday in Ranchi to formally convey the decision.
Das said: “We will hand over the letter of withdrawal of support to the governor. The BJP ministers will also hand over their resignations.”
A rattled four-month-old JMM government said its doors were still open for the BJP. But it appeared clear that Jharkhand was set for another spell of political uncertainty.
Soren formed his government Dec 30 with support from 45 legislators including BJP’s 18, five of the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), two of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and two independents. The JMM itself has 18 legislators.
The Congress, which has 14 members in the state assembly, said it was watching the “emerging situation” and would not act in haste.
To add to the confusion, Congress general secretary and Jharkhand in-charge Keshav Rao described Soren as a “secular” leader who may have been “uncomfortable” with the BJP. He added that Soren was still a member of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in New Delhi. “Morally, he is bound to vote in favour of the central government.”
Congress leaders said the stability of a future government in Ranchi would determine how it acts.
In the 82-member Jharkhand assembly, JMM and BJP have 18 members each, AJSU five, JD-U two, Congress 14, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVP-M) of former chief minister Babulal Marandi 11 and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) five. The others are mainly independents.
Some party leaders said it was possible to keep the assembly in animated suspension till a new equation works out.
They also underlined that Marandi, formerly of the BJP and now a Congress ally, will be on board in any decision the Congress takes.
This, analysts said, meant there were three possible options: the Congress backs a JMM-led government, JMM and Congress prop up Marandi, and the Congress takes office with JMM and Marandi support. The first two widely considered unlikely.
The development has come at an inopportune time for Soren, who was to get elected to the state assembly by June 30 to remain the chief minister -- even without the latest development.
‘Soren ready to resign’
Meanwhile, JMM chief Shibu Soren’s son Hemant Wednesday said his father would step down if the Bharatiya Janata Party wanted to form the government in the state.
Hemant Soren, reacting to the BJP summary decision to withdraw support to the Shibu Soren government, said the party should review that decision to pull out support.
If the BJP was interested in forming the government in the state,, his father was ready to step down, Hemant added.
“He (Shibu Soren) made a mistake by supporting the UPA government on the cut motions,” Hemant Soren added.

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