A day before the BJP Parliamentary Board is scheduled to meet to decide on its Chief Ministerial candidate for Jharkhand, JMM MLA Paulus Surin today said he would not support a government led by the saffron party, a claim his party seniors brushed aside.
Surin, who is in judicial custody in Simdega, informed the media through his supporters that he had supported Chief Minister Shibu Soren and would not back a BJP-led government.
JMM-LP leader Hemant Soren, state HRD Minister Hemlal Murmu and Agriculture Minister Mathura Prasad Mahto (both from JMM) today met Surin in jail and spoke to him for some time.
Emerging from the jail campus, the JMM leaders told awaiting reporters that Surin's statement was "not true", adding, "just wait and see what happens".
BJP General Secretary Ananth Kumar yesterday announced in New Delhi that the party would head the government with support from JMM and All Jharkand Students' Union (AJSU) for the remaining four-and-a-half year term of the Assembly. But hours after that, the JMM said the Chief Minister's post would be rotational.
Murmu said the rotation policy would not be a repeat of what had happened in Karnataka between the BJP and the JD(S) and in Uttar Pradesh between the BJP and the BSP.
To another query, all the three JMM leaders said they would prefer a tribal as the CM, but it was the BJP to decide upon it.
However, BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said in Hyderabad today that the party would not accept the rotational proposal.
Jharkhand, formed in 2000, has never had a non-tribal chief minister. Thirty two per cent of the population in the state is tribal while 15 per cent are Muslims.
The Shibu Soren-led Jharkhand government was hit by a crisis after BJP decided to withdraw support on April 28 after the JMM leader voted against the opposition-sponsored cut motions in the Lok Sabha. However, the BJP kept the decision on hold after Shibu's son Hemant Soren wrote to the party leadership expressing support for a BJP-led government.