Jharkahnd is set for yet another spell of President’s Rule with Chief Minister Shibu Soren resigning on the eve of Monday’s trust vote that he looked set to lose.
The Congress is not inclined to be a part of any alternative coalition government at this stage and the BJP remained firm on its decision not to support Soren. While the JMM in a last-ditch attempt offered support to the BJP, the latter said it wouldn’t accept the same.
According to sources, the UPA government at the Centre would prefer to have a brief spell of President’s Rule to put the house in order in the state that is witnessing increasing Naxal menace.
AICC in charge of Jharkhand
K Keshava Rao refused to spell out
the Congress’s stance. “It is for the Governor to decide now,” he told The Indian Express.
On Sunday night Soren called on Governor M O H Farooq to submit his resignation. Farooq asked him to continue as caretaker CM till further orders. “I will continue to work for the people,” said Soren.
Although the Congress reportedly did explore the possibility of forming an alternative coalition consisting of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) of Babulal Marandi and Soren’s JMM, it made no headway as the Congress refused to have a JMM chief minister or give Soren any Cabinet berth at the Centre. The Congress was, however, willing to consider giving Soren’s son the Deputy CM’s post and to also consider a gubernatorial assignment for the JMM chief. Given Soren’s alleged softness for Maoists, the UPA crisis managers did not want him to have any say in running the state. Soren was reportedly not prepared to accept these terms.
Trying to save his government, Soren was learnt to have reached out to BJP president Nitin Gadkari, urging him to “forget my U-turns”, and even signing a letter of support to the party.
During a meeting held at the CM’s official residence on Sunday morning, JMM and All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) MLAs unanimously resolved to convey their offer to the BJP to revive the deal and to let Soren seek the vote of confidence on the floor of the Assembly on Monday.
“We appeal to all parties and members of the Assembly to rise above party lines and vote in favour of the motion of confidence,” said Hemlal Murmu, a JMM MLA. “We were with the BJP, we are with the BJP, and we will remain with the BJP.”
The JMM chief apparently banked on the fact that most of the BJP MLAs were inclined to accept his offer.
However, the BJP stuck to its stand of not having any truck with Soren. Dealt one embarrassing blow by Soren after another since the cut motion vote in Parliament, it had decided that enough was enough. The Left and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha too decided to oppose the trust vote.
According to Congress sources, after a brief spell of President’s Rule, fresh efforts would be made to cobble up an alternative coalition arrangement. “By that time, Shibu will also have done his loss-benefit analysis,” said a senior Congress leader.
President’s Rule had been lifted in Jharkhand only five months ago, nearly a year after it was imposed in December 2009 to pave the way for formation of a JMM-BJP government.
Soren’s son Hemant, however, remained confident of a JMM-backed government: “With his (Soren’s) resignation, the prospect of formation of a new JMM-supported government has brightened because no party or MLA is in favour of President’s Rule, followed by Assembly polls.”