M A I N   N E W S

Munda gets week to prove majority

Ranchi, September 6
With odds heavily stacked against him, Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda was today asked to prove his majority in the Assembly in a week’s time after he demanded that he be given an opportunity for a floor test.

Governor Syed Sibtey Razi, whom the beleaguered Chief Minister met this morning, conveyed to Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari that Mr Munda had to take a confidence vote before September 14.

The Governor’s decision follows yesterday’s resignation by four ministers Enos Ekka, Harinarayan Rai and Madhu Koda (all Independents) and Kamlesh Singh (NCP) and their withdrawal of support to the BJP-JD (U) coalition reducing it to a minority.

Mr Munda, who sought a meeting with the Governor, expressed confidence that he would be able to prove his majority.

“My government is in the majority, and I am confident of proving my strength. I expect the House to be convened to give me a chance honouring the democratic system,” the Chief Minister told newspersons after meeting the Governor here.

“I reminded the Governor about how the Supreme Court, in the S.R. Bommai case, held that the floor was the perfect place to prove the majority”.

The NDA coalition had the support of 42 MLAs in the 82-member Assembly. But with the resignation of the four ministers it had been reduced to a minority.

The Chief Minister said he had also reminded the Governor of the events after the Assembly elections in 2005 when he had given time to opposing groups to prove their majority in the Assembly.

Mr Munda had received a week’s time after the short-lived Shibu Soren-led UPA failed to prove its majority on March 11 last year.

The BJP-led NDA government returned to power and Mr Munda was sworn-in on March 13 last year. Two days later he proved his majority.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties stepped up their demand for the dismissal of the Munda government.

The Left parties, meeting in Delhi, said the NDA government in Jharkhand should go as it had lost the majority. The Forward Bloc, which has one MLA, promised outside support to a new anti-NDA coalition even though the party expelled its legislator accusing him of hobnobbing with the dissidents to pull down the Munda government.

“We feel that fresh elections are the only way out to provide stability in Jharkhand”, the Left leaders said. — PTI



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