New Delhi/Ranchi: Wary of reported
rebellion among JMM MLAs in Jharkhand, BJP leadership has
sought letters of support from the 18 JMM legislators to
provide a stable BJP-led government in the tribal state,
failing which the alliance will fall through.
BJP has insisted that the JMM MLAs give their letters
of support to the party by Tuesday.
A BJP leader said that in the meeting held here
yesterday, BJP President Nitin Gadkari had categorically told
Hemant, son of JMM chief Shibu Soren, that all JMM MLAs will
have to pledge their support as BJP could not form a shaky
government in Jharkhand.
"Even if one of the 18 JMM MLAs says he will not
support a BJP-led government, we may decide not to form a
government. We do not want to give the impression that we are
dying to form a government in Jharkhand or that we are hungry
for power," the BJP leader said.
As political uncertainty in Jharkhand continued for
the sixth day, JMM today asserted that Shibu Soren will stay
on as Chief Minister for now.
"As of now Shibu Soren is Chief Minister and will
continue in that post... Our talks with the NDA leaders in
Delhi were very constructive," Hemant, Soren`s son and JMMLP
leader, said in Ranchi after meeting the BJP leadership
in Delhi to end the deadlock.
The apprehension in the BJP, which has 18 MLAs, is
that in case it forms a government with the support of JMM,
AJSU and JD(U), it would face a bigger embarrassment than it is
BJP has threatened to withdraw support to the Shibu
Soren government when the JMM chief voted with the
Congress-led regime during the cut-motion in Lok Sabha.
"If the government, led by a BJP Chief Minister,
falls soon after being formed, the party will lose
credibility," a member of the BJP Parliamentary Board said.
While six of the 18 JMM MLAs had raised the banner of
revolt, two of them- Teklal Mahato and Champai Soren-
backtracked and joined Hemant in the meeting with Gadkari and
other Jharkhand leaders yesterday.
Three of the rebels are Christian MLAs and have
reservations about supporting a BJP government.
The main concern within the BJP still remains a
President`s Rule in the state. This would virtually mean a
Congress rule in Jharkhand as the UPA would control everything
from the Centre.
"Under President`s Rule, Congress is likely to poach
our and JMM MLAs to form a government in Jharkhand," a BJP
Central unit leader said.
BJP leaders are now engaged in finding a way out
which would keep its image and ideological stand - of being a
party with a difference-remains intact.
Shibu Soren also has to deal with another issue. He has
less than two months to meet the six-month deadline to get
elected to the state assembly.
Hemant had on April 28 apologised to BJP for Soren`s
voting for UPA in Parliament and the next day urged BJP to
form the government and said Soren was ready to quit.
"The discussions (between JMM and BJP in Delhi) were
constructive. Further discussions will be held," Agriculture
Minister Mathura Prasad Mahato and HRD Minister Hemlal Murmu,
who were among the JMM delegation led by Hemant to Delhi,
Asked whether Soren would contest a bypoll by the June
30 deadline, Murmu said, "I think time for any such polls have
lapsed. But every thing will be discussed among the coalition
Murmu`s statement assumes significance amid speculation
in political circles of a leadership change.
A Lok Sabha member, Soren took oath on December 30 as
the CM with the support of the BJP and has to enter the house
within six months of that date.
Both the JMM and the BJP, its ally, have 18 seats each
in the 82-member assembly.
Even as hectic parleys continued between JMM and the BJP,
former CM Babulal Marandi threw his hat in the ring, saying
his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-P with 11 MLAs was willing to form
the new government with the help of the secular party to end
the political crisis.
"JVM-P will never back out from taking responsibility if
the secular forces give us support," Marandi said and accused
BJP of "laying the foundation for political instability" in
March 2003 by replacing him with Arjun Munda as Chief
While BJP state unit president and Deputy Chief Minister
Raghuvar Das remained silent on the issue since his arrival
from Delhi this afternoon, other Deputy Chief Minister and
AJSU president Sudesh Mahto said another round of dialogue
would be held within a week.
"All the allies -- the BJP, JMM, AJSU talked on the
problem which arose following the voting on the cut motions in
Parliament. All other issues will be minutely discussed,"
Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu today claimed that there
was no confusion in his party over the Jharkhand political
"Our parliamentary board has already decided to withdraw
support to JMM. Subsequently, JMM gave a proposal that they
will support us to form a government. A final decision will be
taken tomorrow in this regard," he told reporters in Chennai.
BJP parliamentary board had decided to withdraw support
to the four month-old JMM government terming Soren`s vote as a
The board had also approved the handing over to Governor
M O H Farooq the letter of withdrawal of support by the state
BJP. However, following Hemant`s apology and offering of the
leadership on April 28 and 29, BJP put on hold its decision to
withdraw support the next day.