New Delhi: Barely four months after it extended support to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led state government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday pulled out of the alliance.
Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren had on Tuesday voted for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre against cut motions brought by the BJP and the Left parties.
The Congress has now indicated it is not averse to backing a JMM-led government in Jharkhand but said it would not make a hasty decision.
“Never averse to it (supporting JMM),” said K. Keshava Rao, Congress leader in charge of Jharkhand. “After all, we contested the election to form a government there... In politics, there is no last word.”
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said the party does “not take any political decision in a haste”.
The JMM-led government in Jharkhand has been reduced to a minority now after the withdrawal of support by the BJP, which has 18 legislators in the 82-member state assembly.
Support lost: Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren at his official residence in Ranchi on Wednesday. Soren had on Tuesday voted for the UPA government against the cut motion brought by the Opposition. PIB
The strength of the ruling coalition has been reduced from 46 to 28. The government had taken charge on 30 December.
The decision to withdraw support was taken at a parliamentary board meeting chaired by BJP chief Nitin Gadkari on Wednesday afternoon.
“He (Soren) has behaved in a very dubious manner and voted with the government during the cut motion. BJP has taken very serious note of this betrayal and dubious conduct,” said BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar.
The BJP’s move has pushed Jharkhand, which has seen six chief ministers since the state was formed in 2000, into another round of political uncertainty.
In the Jharkhand assembly, BJP and JMM have 18 seats each, Congress has 14, Rashtriya Janata Dal has five, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) has 11, All Jharkhand Students Union has five, Janata Dal (United) has two, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) has one, and others and independents, seven. One member is nominated.
A Congress leader said the party leadership is now considering several options, including backing its ally JVM-P chief Babulal Marandi as chief minister and Soren’s son and Parliament member Hemant Soren as deputy chief minister.
Shibu Soren, who was coal minister in the UPA’s first term, is apparently keen on returning to national politics.