The four-month-old JMM-led government in Jharkand was reduced to a minority on Wednesday after alliance partner BJP withdrew support retaliating strongly to Chief Minister Shibu Soren voting for the UPA in Lok Sabha.
Jharkand appeared headed for another round of political uncertainty, as a stunned BJP wasted no time in pulling the rug under Soren's feet dubbing as betrayal his action to vote against the party's cut motion yesterday. The 66-year-old JMM supremo was also slammed by the BJP for his "dubious conduct."
After withdrawal of support by BJP, which has 18 members, the strength of the ruling coalition has been reduced to 28 from 46 in a House of 82. The incumbent JMM-BJP coalition government is the seventh since the mineral-rich state was created in 2000. Soren is a three-time chief minister.
Sanjay Seth, spokesman of BJP's Jharkand unit, said his party will seek time for a meeting with Governor MOH Farooq tomorrow to hand over letter of withdrawal of support.
A meeting of the BJP top brass, headed by party chief Nitin Gadkari, decided to withdraw support immediately giving indications that the new experiment in Ranchi has floundered.
"The BJP Parliamentary Board has decided to withdraw support immediately to the Shibu Soren government. 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," senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar told reporters in Delhi.
Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar welcomed BJP's decision to withdraw support to Soren.
In the 82-member Jharkhand Assembly, BJP and JMM have 18 seats each, Congress 14, RJD 5, JVM 11, ASJU 5, JD (U) 2, CPI (ML) 1 and others and independents six. One member is nominated.
Though Soren became a chief minister, he has retained his Lok Sabha seat and has another two months time to get elected to the state assembly.
The Congress's Jharkand unit has left the final decision on its future strategy to the party high command, while ally Jharkhand Vikash Morcha (P) whose chief is former chief minister Babulal Marandi has called a meeting of MLAs and central office bearers tomorrow to take stock of the emerging situation. Minor alliance partners in the Jharkhand government were also closely 'watching' the developments.
With the BJP letting known its displeasure, the JMM went on an apparent damage control exercise claiming that Soren's vote happened by "mistake" and that it was a human error. It also said there was no move to form a government in Jharkhand with Congress backing.