Jharkhand Chief Minister "Arjun Munda" on Tuesday resigned and recommended dismissal of the 82-member Assembly leaving the situation wide open for the Governor to decide the future course of action. When earlier in the day, coalition partner Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, in a letter to Governor Syed Ahmed, formally withdrew its support to the 28-month-old government pushing it into a minority. Mr. Munda told reporters that he has submitted the Cabinet's decision recommending the Governor to dissolve the House along with his resignation in Ranchi after handing over his letter or resignation to Mr. Ahmed.
The Governor, he said, would decide on the recommendation for dissolution of the House. In fact he says, "I have run the government with stability for the last two years. Dissolution of the House and seeking a fresh mandate is the alternative presently," he said. "Seven Ministers (of the coalition government) were present in the Cabinet meeting and it was decided to recommend dissolution of the State Assembly," he said. Even though No JMM member was present at the meeting.
The decision, he said, was taken as no national party had openly come forward to provide an alternative government in the wake of the JMM's announcement to pull out of the government. JMM leader and Deputy Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who submitted to the Governor the letter withdrawing support to the Munda government, said the Cabinet recommendation on dissolution of the House "did not stand" as the party had announced its decision to pull out on Monday itself. JMM, he said, had faxed a letter to Raj Bhavan informing the Governor of its decision even before the Cabinet met on Tuesday morning.
"We have submitted the letter to the Governor and informed him that JMM’s withdrawal of support has reduced the government into a minority," Mr. Hemant Soren told newsmen after submitting the letter. He was accompanied by his father and JMM supremo Shibu Soren and other party leaders to the Raj Bhavan.
Reacting to it, Mr. Munda said, "Such letters are not faxed. One should physically submit them to the Governor." The Congress, however, said in Delhi that the Jharkhand Cabinet's decision recommending dissolution of the Assembly was "not binding" on the Governor as it was done by the Munda government after being reduced to a "minority". "It is not binding on the Governor to accept the recommendation of a minority government. It was crystal clear that the BJP-led government had been reduced to a minority after withdrawal of support by JMM," senior leader Shakeel Ahmed said. In the 82-member State Assembly, the BJP and the JMM have 18 members each. The Munda government had the support of six members of All Jharkhand Students' Union, two of the JD (U), two independents and one nominated member who has voting right in a trial of strength.
Opposition Congress has 13 members, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (P) 11 and the RJD 5 in the Assembly. The CPI (ML(L)), the Marxist Coordination Party, the Jharkhand Party (Ekka), the Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch and the Jai Bharat Samta Party have one member each besides an independent.
(AW: Samrat Biswas)