Ranchi, Jan. 7: Political crisis returned to the state today after Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) announced its decision to withdraw support to the BJP-led alliance government, acting on a threat it has been holding out since December last year to pressure Arjun Munda to hand over reins of the government to a JMM chief minister.
The Munda-led coalition government, with Sudesh Mahto’s Ajsu as the third partner, is now reduced to a minority with 29 MLAs in an 82-member House.
Deputy chief minister Hemant Soren said his father and JMM chief, Shibu Soren, had been “asked by the party” to meet the Governor tomorrow and hand over a formal letter explaining their decision.
“There are some leaders in the BJP, particularly a parliamentarian from Santhal Pargana, who have been attacking our chief unnecessarily. We cannot compromise on the honour of our party chief when he is maligned by leaders of a coalition partner,” Hemant said, alluding to one of BJP’s most vocal critics of the coalition, Godda MP Nishikant Dubey.
“A coalition government cannot run like this. Therefore, we have decided to withdraw support,” Hemant added after coming out of a four-hour-long meeting of the JMM’s executive committee.
The BJP, which had been trying as late as this morning to avert a crisis — chief minister Munda, accompanied by state BJP chief Dineshanand Goswami and human resource development minister Baidyanath Ram, met Shibu Soren at his Morabadi residence.
But they were unable to placate the chief of the JMM that had put out a seven-point charter at the top of which was a demand to hand over the chief minister’s chair to the JMM for the remainder of the coalition government’s term till December 2014.
Till late tonight, senior leaders of the BJP were closeted at a meeting at their Harmu Road office.
“Tomorrow, we will be going to Raj Bhavan to hand over the letter withdrawing our support,” Shibu Soren said.