Shibu Soren at his Chira Chas farmhouse in Bokaro on Wednesday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
Bokaro, Nov. 7: JMM chief Shibu Soren today threatened ally BJP that they would withdraw support to the government if it did not agree to share the office of the chief minister on a rotational basis, a deal he claimed was arrived at before Arjun Munda took oath of office two years ago.
Soren’s periodic outbursts against the ruling BJP-JMM-Ajsu coalition, citing a deal which nobody seems to vouch for, has meant that not many in the ruling dispensation are willing to attach much significance to it.
BJP general secretary and Jharkhand in-charge Dharmendra Pradhan denied there was any such pact even though Guruji had been issuing statements on it for quite some time. “We don’t know why he is doing so. But we are hopeful that Guruji will not precipitate the issue and withdraw support (from the government) and plunge the state into instability,” he told The Telegraph.
According to a TV channel report, the chief minister, when asked to react to Soren’s statement told the reporters in Lohardaga that they need not worry about it (fate of the government).
“I know what to speak and at which forum,” he said.
Today, Soren, who is chairman of the state coordination committee, went a step further and said he would have no option but to pull out of the government if the BJP did not stick to its promise of relinquishing the chief minister’s chair in favour of the JMM after spending a little over two years — 28 months — in office.
“I will wait till December when BJP completes 28 months in office,” he told The Telegraph at his Chira Chas farmhouse in Bokaro today.
When it was pointed out that Dineshanand Goswami had categorically denied any such pact with the JMM, Soren shot back saying the state BJP chief wasn’t present at the meeting where the concept of a rotational chief minister every 28 months was agreed upon.
“At that meeting, held before Arjun Munda was named chief minister, Ajsu leader Sudesh Mahto, BJP leader Raghubar Das and I were present. Goswami wasn’t even there,” Soren claimed.
He went on to add that now when the time had come to “pass on the baton to the JMM” the BJP leaders were looking for excuses. “This can turn fatal for survival of the government,” he threatened.
Asked if he was in touch with Congress leaders, Guruji said all avenues were open to him.
“The JMM is ready to contest elections whenever they are declared. We do not fear elections and will prove how popular the party is,” he said.