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Since 1st March, 1999
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Drama ends at governor door

Ranchi, Jan. 8: All eyes were on Raj Bhavan today as the month-long political drama in the state ended within the confines of the governor’s house.

The beginning of the end of the BJP-led government started with JMM chief Shibu Soren’s motorcade making its way into Raj Bhavan at 10.28am after stopping traffic on busy Kanke Road.

Soren senior, accompanied by son Hemant, senior party leaders Hemlal Murmu, Champai Soren, Mathura Prasad Mahto, Haji Hussain Ansari, Simon Marandi, Vishnu Bhaiya, Kameshwar Baitha and Sanjeev Kumar as well as the party’s executive body member Supriyo Bhattacharya, arrived at the governor’s door in a dozen SUVs. Soren senior headed straight for the Durbar Hall where he and his men waited for governor Syed Ahmed in silence.

Though the governor had been informed about the JMM entourage’s arrival, he took his time to make an appearance, walking in at 10.45am.

Guruji wasted no time in asking for the letter withdrawing support to the government from his partymen, which he handed over to the governor amid pin drop silence.

It was left to Hemant to brief the governor about what prompted the JMM to withdraw support. The entire exercise lasted all of 10 minutes, following which the JMM leaders made their way out.

“We have withdrawn support,” is all senior Soren said. Hemant, however, added it was now for the governor to decide the future course of action. The JMM men then headed towards Guruji’s residence.

The next scene of the final acts unfolding at Ranchi’s new power centre began minutes later. Former Union minister and Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay happened to be passing by.

Spotting newsmen, he ordered his car to stop, to interact with the media.

“When JMM has already announced withdrawal of support, there is no reason for chief minister Arjun Munda to convene a meeting of the cabinet and recommend dissolution of the Assembly. The Congress is watching. We will do what is in the larger interest of the state,” he said.

The curtains finally came down with the arrival of chief minister Arjun Munda to Raj Bhavan at 11.36am. Accompanying him were nearly all BJP legislators, Ajsu MLAs and JD(U)’s Gopal Krishna Patar. At 11.55am, the chief minister handed over his resignation as well as a letter recommending dissolution of the Assembly to the governor.

As newsmen rushed forward to catch a glimpse of the outgoing chief minister’s grave face, the flowerpots lining the stairs to Raj Bhavan smashed into pieces, an omen for a state staring at uncertainty again.