Trouble could be brewing for the Arjun Munda NDA government in Jharkhand with three ministers camping in Delhi and reportedly in touch with the UPA, even as the Chief Minister maintained that there was no crisis.
All the three ministers, Madhu Koda, Enos Ekka and Harinarain, who left on unday, have switched off their mobile phones.
The 18-month old NDA government in Jharkhand has a wafer-thin majority and would face a crisis in the event of the three ministers - all Independents - taking any extreme step.
[According to reports, the government is seriously considering a proposal to dismiss the government and a dismissal order could come soon. The BJP maintained that there was no threat to its government.]
Munda remained silent when asked by reporters whether he could get in touch with the three ministers who have been complaining of feeling ignored for some time now.
Shortly after Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari, who was on his way to Nigeria for a meeting of parliamentarians, returned to Ranchi, the CM went to his residence and the two were closeted for over 30 minutes.
Later, Munda told newsmen that there was no crisis. "There is no crisis. There is no issue that cannot be solved."
Asked if he was in touch with the three ministers, he replied, "I know where they are, you need not worry."
To a question, he said that there was no possibility of the formation of an alternative government.
On the government's strength in the Assembly, he said, "I will speak about it only in the house."
Asked why he had returned abruptly, Namdhari said, "I returned as I am indisposed."
Earlier, at the airport when his attention was drawn to the three ministers camping in New Delhi, he said, "I have just arrived. I will have to look into the matter."
According to sources in the government, Finance minister Raghuvar Das has left for New Delhi to meet the BJP leadership.
Parliamentary Affairs minister Madhu Koda, Forest minister Harinarayan Rai and Rural Development minister Enos Ekka have reportedly been in touch with top UPA leaders in New Delhi, apparently in search of an "alternative formula."
The trio had in the past been on record saying that despite being in the coalition they were not getting cooperation in departmental matters. Koda is also said to be unhappy over alleged non-clearance of files relating to his department.
The coalition has 43 MLAs (including nominated member) in the 82-member house - 30 from the BJP, six from JD(U), one from Nationalist Congress Party, five independents and a nominated MLA.
UPA has 39 MLAs - JMM - 17, Congress - nine, RJD - seven, United Goan Democratic Party - two, Forward Bloc - two, CPI-ML (Liberation)- one and one independent (Stephen Marandi).
Meanwhile in Jamshedpur, former chief minister and president of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha - Democratic (JVM-D), Babulal Marandi said, "The fall of the Jharkhand government is inevitable and mid-term polls may take place any moment."
He told newsmen that he favoured a mid-term poll instead of a new government being formed in the state.