M A I N   N E W S

Jharkhand under Central rule, again
Second time in two years; Prez accepts Union Cabinet’s recommendation

New Delhi, June 1
Jharkhand today came under Central rule with President Pratibha Patil accepting a recommendation of the Union Cabinet after the Congress and the BJP gave up efforts to form an alternative government following resignation of Chief Minister Shibu Soren.

The state Assembly will be kept in suspended animation during the President’s rule, which has been imposed for a second time in two years, a Rashtrapati Bhavan official said.

A meeting of the Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had this morning recommended to the President imposition of Central rule on the basis of the report of Jharkhand Governor MOH Farooq to the Centre yesterday.

Farooq is understood to have recommended clamping of Central rule following his meeting leaders of major political parties in Ranchi. The Congress and the BJP had both indicated their inability to form an alternative government in the state.

The Soren government was reduced to a minority on May 24 when the BJP, with 18 MLAs and the JD(U) with two, withdrew support to it. The JMM, with 18 MLAs and having the support of seven other legislators, was short of the required 42 in the 82-member House.

The BJP took the decision after Soren voted against the cut motions sponsored by the opposition in Lok Sabha on April 27.

The Congress, with a strength of 14, and its ally the JVM(P) with 11 members, had said it did not have the numbers to stake claim to form a government Jharkhand, which has seen seven CMs since its creation on November 15, 2000, came under President’s rule for the first time on January 19, last year, which was extended by six months in July.

It was imposed when no party came forward for government formation after JMM chief Shibu Soren, who was in his second stint as the CM, failed to enter the Assembly following defeat in the Tamar bypoll. The Assembly elections in October/November last year threw up a fractured mandate again and Shibu Soren became the CM for a third time with the support of the NDA.

Soren had to resign on May 30 after the BJP withdrew support to his coalition government as a fallout of his voting for the UPA in a cut motion in Lok Sabha.

The political uncertainty in the state goes back to March 2003 when the Babulal Marandi government fell on the floor of the Assembly.

This time, the BJP reportedly failed to reach a consensus between its leaders — former Chief Minister Arjun Munda and his former deputy Raghuvar Das — for the CM’s post.

The political instability has seen Arjun Munda heading two governments, Soren three and Marandi and Madhu Koda one each. “We tried our best to avert President’s rule, but were unfortunately unsuccessful in our endeavour,” BJP state general secretary Ganesh Mishra said.

BJP spokesman Sanjay Seth said the state should not be kept under President’s rule for long and people should be given an opportunity to give their mandate in a mid-term poll at the earliest. — PTI





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