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Soren Asked To Prove Majority By May 31

BJP on Monday in Ranchi withdrew its support to the nearly five-month-old JMM-led government in Jharkhand reducing it to a minority, following which Chief Minister Shibu Soren was asked by the Governor to prove his
PTI May 24, 2010 20:11 IST
PTI

BJP on Monday in Ranchi withdrew its support to the nearly five-month-old JMM-led government in Jharkhand reducing it to a minority, following which Chief Minister Shibu Soren was asked by the Governor to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly by May 31.

Soren was summoned by Governor M O H Farooq this evening after BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Raghuvar Das handed over a letter withdrawing his party's support to the government, Raj Bhavan said. He has been given a week's time to prove his strength in the House.

With 14 MLAs, Congress saw a possible role in the formation of a stable government. "We are watching the developments. We are putting our minds together to save Jharkhand from collapse," Congress in-charge for the state K Keshav Rao told reporters in New Delhi.

In Ranchi, Congress spokesman Radhakrishna Kishore said, "If secular parties, including the JMM, send any proposal for formation of a secular dispensation, the party will look into it and place it before the Central leadership."

In the 82-member assembly, the Soren government now has support of 25 MLAs, including 18 of its own, five of the AJSU and two others. The BJP has 18 members. The JD(U), which has 2 MLAs, also decided to follow suit and withdraw support to the government.

JMM legislative party leader and Soren's son Hemant said the Governor had acceded to the chief minister's request to give him seven-days time to prove his majority in the assembly.

Soren took oath as chief minister on December 30 last year with the support of the BJP, AJSU and others. 

JD(U) spokesman Pramod Mishra said, "The JD(U) is a part of the NDA and our central leadership has directed us to go by the BJP's decision."  Frustrated over JMM backtracking on its power-sharing agreement, the BJP had yesterday decided to withdraw support after a defiant Soren asserted that he would continue as the chief minister and was in touch with Congress.

The BJP parliamentary board had on April 28 decided to withdraw support to the JMM government after Soren voted against the party-sponsored cut motion against the UPA Government in Lok Sabha a day earlier.

However, the decision was put on hold when Soren's son Hemant wrote a letter to BJP chief Nitin Gadkari pledging support to a BJP-led government.

But, the JMM did a U-turn and demanded rotational power sharing with each party leading the government for 28 months. This was agreed to by BJP on the understanding that Soren will quit as Chief Minister by May 25 after which former Chief Minister Arjun Munda will head a new coalition government.

 As the deadline for his stepping down approached, Soren made it clear on Friday that he was not going to quit. The Chief Minister had on Saturday gone a step further saying he was weighing all options, including cutting a deal with the Congress to continue in power.

Meanwhile, CPI-ML(L), which has one MLA, said it would vote against the government during the floor test.

"I will vote against Soren," Vinod Kumar Singh MLA told PTI.