New Delhi: The Union cabinet on Thursday accepted the Jharkhand governor’s recommendation to impose President’s rule while keeping the state assembly in suspended animation. The move has stoked further political uncertainty, with political analysts saying that it allows for political jockeying to take place.
Governor Syed Ahmed did not exercise the other option of dissolving the 82-member assembly and suggesting immediate polls in the state.
“Assembly in suspended animation under President’s rule means that any political party can at any point of time make a claim to form the government before the governor. President’s rule can be lifted if that political party gets the required number,” constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap said.
President’s rule is imposed for a period of six months and can be extended for another six with the approval of Parliament. Jharkhand has been under President’s rule twice—in January 2009 and in June 2010.
The present crisis arose after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha withdrew support to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition. Chief minister Arjun Munda resigned after leading the government for 28 months and demanded the dissolution of the House.
The move may prove to be a further blow for India’s second largest party after it recently lost assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, and the Karnataka government that it heads faces threats from former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
The BJP and the JMM have 18 members each. Munda also had the support of six members of the Jharkhand Students’ Union, two members of the Janata Dal (United), two independents and one nominated member. The opposition, led by the Congress, has 13 members and it enjoyed the support of 11 members of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (P) and five members of the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Besides, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), four small parties have one member each, along with one independent legislator.
“The party has called a jail bharo andolan in every district tomorrow in protest against the Centre ignoring the cabinet decision to dissolve the house in favour of a fresh mandate,” BJP state unit president Dineshanand Goswami said. “The Arjun Munda government had recommended dissolution of the House, but the Congress-led government at the Centre wants the assembly to be kept in suspended animation under President’s rule to rule the state indirectly.”
JMM leader Hemant Soren said President’s rule is one of the alternatives in India’s democratic system, but an elected government is better.
PTI contributed to this story.