Jharkhand’s 12 years of fragile politics
Ranchi: With JMM announcing its decision to withdraw support to Arjun Munda-led BJP government in Jharkhand, the prospect of a ninth government in 12 years is looming large over the state created on November 15, 2000.
While BJP’s Arjun Munda and JMM chief Shibu Soren had been chief ministers three times each, Babulal Marandi and Madhu Koda ruled the state once each.
Things moved smoothly for the state till early 2003 under BJP-led NDA dispensation headed by Babulal Marandi till ministers from the erstwhile Samata Party and Vananchal Congress pulled the rug from under his feet when they crossed floor in March 2003.
In a swift action, senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh placated the dissidents by replacing Marandi with Arjun Munda, leaving Marandi sulking till he broke away four years later.
Munda got back to the helm for his second stint after a brief nine-day tenure of Shibu Soren following a month-long high voltage drama soon after the 2005 assembly elections threw up a fractured mandate.
But BJP’s failure to allot a ticket to party leader Madhu Koda despite his being a minister in the previous Marandi and Munda governments became the trigger for another bout of political instability in future. Koda had contested and won the 2005 assembly polls as an independent.
BJP, in its desperation to form the government, roped in Koda to the Munda cabinet, little expecting him to unseat Munda and take oath as the chief minister on September 18, 2006 as an independent MLA and head of UPA dispensation.
Koda’s 23 months in power was the darkest period for Jharkhand and he, along with five of his former cabinet colleagues, was sent to judicial custody on corruption charges.
Soren took over as chief minister for the second time on August 27, 2008 but his term was again cut short as he had to resign on January 12, 2009 after failing to enter the assembly following his defeat in the Tamar assembly bypoll. This led to the imposition of President?s rule on January 19, 2009.
Soren, known as `Guruji` in political circles, had lost to a political novice -- Gopal Krishna Patar of Janata Dal(U)--but he did not hesitate to take the same man`s support when power beckoned him for the third time on December 30, 2009.
Soren, who has the distinction of never being an MLA but becoming CM thrice, once again lost power after voting along Congress on April 27, 2010 in a trust vote in the Lok Sabha despite heading a government in which BJP was a major ally.
President’s rule was once again was imposed in Jharkhand after BJP predictably withdrew support to Soren.
JMM and BJP came together once again when Munda took over on September 11, 2010 `in the interest of the state`.
Munda government is now facing a threat to its survival with JMM deciding to withdraw support in the backdrop of conflicting claims about an accord on rotational leadership of the coalition. The 28-month limit for ruling by BJP, according to the tribal party, ends on January 10.
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