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BJP not to rock Hemant’s boat

Chief minister Hemant Soren at a programme to mark the death anniversary of his elder brother Durga Soren at Lowadih on Ranchi’s outskirts on Wednesday. Telegraph picture

New Delhi, May 21: The BJP has decided not to topple the Hemant Soren-led JMM-Congress-RJD ruling coalition in the state that is already on shaky ground in terms of numbers and morale, thanks to MLA defections and Lok Sabha drubbing.

Senior state BJP leaders, who met central counterparts in Delhi today, said they had adopted a wait-and-watch approach for the moment and were in no hurry to call a no-confidence motion.

“We don’t have the numbers or support to topple the JMM-Congress coalition in the state but we are not trying too hard either to bring a no-confidence motion. In any case, Assembly elections are due later this year in Jharkhand. After the government forms at the Centre, we will chart out a concrete action plan for the state,” said Arjun Munda, BJP veteran, former chief minister, and leader of Opposition in state Assembly.

Referring to Bandhu Tirkey and Chamra Linda, Munda added “two Independent MLAs had joined Trinamul Congress and were doing flip-flops”, making the situation “dicey”.

The Hemant government needs at least 39 MLAs to survive a floor test. On paper, the government has support of as many legislators.

But Trinamul has kept up the suspense, indicating tersely that it would review the situation. Within the JMM, disgruntled leader Simon Marandi, who was sacked from Hemant’s cabinet recently but is still in the party, may also go against the government.

A senior BJP leader said indulgently that the state government would probably be “allowed” to scrape through the remaining few months before Assembly elections.

BJP leader Saryu Rai summed up the mood: “The mere presence of this government is a major boost for the BJP. As long as this coalition is in power, good governance cannot happen.”

The Congress camp, in tatters after the Lok Sabha drubbing, said they had their fingers crossed. “We are safe as far as numbers are concerned but how things unfold in coming few weeks would be significant,” said K.N. Tripathy, state rural development and labour minister.

JVM and Ajsu, which collectively have 17 MLAs in the House, are also in no mood to push for early elections. The morale at the regional camps is down as both were blanked in the Lok Sabha polls.

“It won’t help us if the Hemant government goes. It will hasten Assembly polls to September and the BJP may sweep the state given their momentum,” said an Ajsu leader.