BJP opts out of Jharkhand coalition, Soren in minority

      The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew support from the Shibu Soren-led Government in Jharkhand on Monday. BJP legislative party leader and state Deputy Chief Minister Raghuvar Das handed over a letter conveying the party’s decision to Governor M O H Farooq. With this, the nearly five-month-old Soren Government has been reduced to a minority. "I have handed over the letter, which contains the signature of all 18 BJP MLAs, withdrawing support," Das said. Frustrated over the JMM’s backtracking on its power-sharing agreement in Jharkhand, the BJP decided on Sunday to withdraw support. Das also claimed that the Janata Dal United (JDU), which has two MLAs, supported BJP's decision, as it was a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). He said the BJP took the extreme step because of the JMM's varying statements. When asked whether the BJP would demand the imposition of President's Rule, Das said the Governor would take a decision in this regard. "I don't deny any possibility, but we would like a strong and stable government," he said. BJP general secretary Arjun Munda, charged the Congress Party with creating a vicious political atmosphere in Jharkhand. Replying to a question, he said: "The Congress is creating a vicious political atmosphere in the state. The Raj Bhavan should keep democratic values in mind before taking any step.” On April 28, the BJP parliamentary board decided to withdraw support to the JMM-led coalition government after Soren voted in-favour of the UPA Government during a cut motion in the Lok Sabha. However, the decision was put on hold when JMM legislature Party leader and Soren's son Hemant wrote a letter to BJP President Nitin Gadkari pledging support to a BJP-led government in the state. The JMM, however, backtracked and demanded rotational power sharing, with each party leading the government for a period of 28 months. This was agreed by the BJP on the understanding that Soren will quit as Chief Minister by May 25 after which Arjun Munda would head the new coalition government. As the deadline for his stepping down approached, Soren made it clear on Friday that he was not going to quit. Soren said he was weighing all options, including a deal with the Congress to continue in power. The Soren government now has 27 MLAs, including 18 of its own, five of the AJSU, two of JD (U) and two others in support in the 81-member House.

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