Ranchi, March 21: Hemlal Murmu and Bidyut Baran Mahto, two MLAs who quit the JMM in exchange for BJP tickets, have announced their decision to give up their Assembly membership, in effect reducing the House strength to 79 MLAs.
While Murmu faxed his letter to Speaker Shashank Shekhar Bhokta, Mahto sought time, saying he was in a remote location where communication facilities were poor. Murmu will contest from Rajmahal on a BJP ticket, while the party has promised Mahto the Jamshedpur seat.
“Murmu faxed me his resignation letter. Then, a hard copy arrived through a messenger. But, Mahto’s resignation letter didn’t arrive till I was in office. He told me he was at a location without fax and e-mail facilities. Both have promised to meet me in person,” Bhokta told The Telegraph.
As of now, the Hemant Soren government enjoys the support of 40 MLAs, down as it is by two of its own MLAs and one of ally Congress, with the effective House strength at 79.
All eyes are on Trinamul Congress, which picked up two Hemant-friendly Independents — Bandhu Tirkey and Chamra Linda — who are yet to relinquish their Assembly memberships.
The two continue to pledge support to the JMM-Congress-RJD combine.
The Speaker clarified that anti-defection law was not applicable to Tirkey and Linda since they merged their outfits with the TMC.
In the delicate numbers game, Hemant realises he has only one MLA more than the Opposition. Yet, he put up a brave front, saying he isn’t interested in saving his government. “I have repeatedly formed and toppled coalition governments in Jharkhand. Our challenge now is to ensure the success of UPA nominees in all 14 Lok Sabha seats,” he said.