Ranchi, Jan. 8: The sharp morning chill only added to the sense of gloom and unease that prevailed at the chief minister’s Kanke Road residence today, mere hours before Arjun Munda put in his papers, signalling the end of the present dispensation in Jharkhand.
The fact that JMM leaders were headed for Raj Bhavan to hand over the letter withdrawing support weighing on everyone’s mind, one by one Munda’s cabinet members and trusted lieutenants began filing into his official residence from 9am.
All ministers barring those from JMM were in attendance by 9.15am. Giving Baidyanath Ram, Satyanand Jha Batul, Vimla Pradhan (all BJP), JD(U)’s Gopal Krishna Patar and Ajsu’s Sudesh Kumar Mahto and Chandra Prakash Choudhary company were chief secretary S.K. Choudhary and principal secretary D.K. Tiwary. At 9.30am, a cabinet meeting was convened — it lasted 10 minutes.
Munda, clad in a black Nehru coat, then announced the decision of the cabinet.
“The cabinet has decided that it would request the governor to dissolve the Assembly in the interest of the state. A facsimilie is being sent to Raj Bhavan soon to convey the message,” Munda declared.
What followed was a confirmation from Raj Bhavan to the chief minister’s office — Governor Syed Ahmed would meet Munda and his men at 11.30am.
With five minutes to go for the appointed time, Munda’s motorcade rolled out of his residence for the Raj Bhavan, barely a kilometre away. Munda along with all BJP ministers, JD(U)’s Patar and Ajsu’s C.P. Choudhary and Umakant Rajak were at the governor’s residence in no time.
They patiently waited for governor at the Durbar Hall — and the governor obliged at 11.55am.
Munda’s one-page letter clearly mentioned that he along with all members of his cabinet were offering their resignation and that the earlier cabinet had “unanimously” decided to request the governor to dissolve the Assembly.
Later, Munda told The Telegraph he wanted a fresh mandate from the people of Jharkhand, which would be for the good of the state.
“Phir bahar ban kar aaunga (I will return like the spring),” a confident Munda said. Considering that he has faced a similar situation twice before, it was not a hollow claim.