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Jharkhand: Munda seeks trust today

india Updated: Sep 14, 2006 01:57 IST
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The stage is set in Jharkhand for a final showdown on Thursday on the floor of the Assembly with both the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) expressing confidence of their win in a trust vote.

The beleaguered Arjun Munda government will seek a trust vote after being reduced to a minority after four rebel ministers—Enos Ekka, Harinarayan Rai, Madhu Koda and Kamlesh Singh—withdrew support. He now enjoys the support of 39 legislators, including the speaker, in the 82-member house.

The chief minister has said he is confident of proving his majority. "Wait for Thursday. We will prove our majority on the floor of the house," he said.

The Congress disagrees. The state Congress president and legislator Pradeep Balmuchu said: "The NDA is spreading rumours. On Thursday, the lie will be busted and the UPA will form the government as it enjoys the support of 43 legislators."

Heavy security arrangements have been made in the state capital Ranchi to avoid any untoward incident. Around 4,000 security personnel will be deployed to ensure security of the legislators at the Assembly, the governor's house and other sensitive places.

A UPA delegation met central Home Minister Shivraj Patil and alleged threats to life from the Arjun Munda government. UPA legislators and independent MLAs requested the minister to ensure their safety in Ranchi.

Meanwhile, 37 UPA legislators arrived in Ranchi from New Delhi in a chartered plane to participate in the vote. But the big question is where are the rest six legislators of the UPA.

"All the legislators will reach the Assembly on Thursday to defeat the Arjun Munda government," said Gautam Sagar Rana, state Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president, obviously referring to the six other UPA legislators.

Before coming to Ranchi, the legislators met Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in New Delhi.

Lalu Prasad said Madhu Koda would head the government.

"We will give a people-friendly government. The NDA has lost the majority and formalities will be completed on Thursday," Koda said.

Top leaders of the alliance, including Lalu Prasad, MP Mabel Rebello, Congress' Jharkhand in-charge Noor Bano and Food Processing Minister and Ranchi Lok Sabha MP Subodh Kant Sahay, are keeping a close watch on developments.

Sumitra Mahajan, BJP in-charge of the state said the Munda government would prove its majority. She said the NDA is banking on the six UPA legislators.

Senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu reached Ranchi on Tuesday. He charged the Congress with moves to enforce the president's rule in the state.

Countering the charge, Sahay said: "Congress never tried to topple the Munda government. The Munda government has been reduced to a minority after the resignation of four ministers.

"Congress will help in forming an alternative government in Jharkhand after the fall of the Munda government."

A lot will depend on Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari's verdict on the disqualification petition under the anti-defection law against three rebel legislators—Enos Ekka, Stephen Marandi and Kamlesh Singh.

The Supreme Court has refused to intervene in the matter, greatly bolstering Munda's chances.

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