Cong, BJP keep governor busy

Ranchi, Jan. 10: Congress and BJP leaders kept the political pot boiling in Jharkhand with both parties sending representatives to meet Governor Syed Ahmed, arguing for and against dissolving the Assembly as urged by caretaker chief minister Arjun Munda.

While the Congress "explained" the political situation in the state and urged Ahmed to act according to his conscience, BJP leaders pressed for quick dissolution of the Assembly and declaration of fresh elections, arguing that any effort to form an alternative government now would only promote horse-trading.

Pradeep Balmuchu and a few others called on the governor at 11am and spent half an hour in Raj Bhavan. Soon, BJP leaders Dineshanand Goswami ' also the party chief ' and Raghubar Das followed.

"Some people are thinking that Congress toppled the Arjun Munda government because it wanted to form an alternative government. This is not so. Now that JMM has severed ties with the BJP, we are exploring the possibility of government formation," state Congree chief Balmuchu told newsmen outside Raj Bhavan.

Clearly, the state Congress chief was doing his bit to keep up the momentum amid reports that the party's central leadership was cold to the desperate overtures of JMM whose leaders have been camping in Delhi since Tuesday night.

Asked who would be the Congress's choice for chief minister, Balmuchu said they would wait till the outline of the new government was ready. "The question of who will become the chief minister would be decided by the high command," he added.

Significantly, Balmuchu did not rule out the possibility of seeking support from tainted MLAs Anosh Ekka (Kolebira) and Harinarayan Rai (Jarmundi) saying they had only been "accused" of corruption and had not been "convicted" by any court of law.

BJP, however, spoke in two different voices. Senior leader Raghubar Das seemed to hint that his party was not entirely opposed to allowing the formation of an alternative government, provided the governor's efforts in that direction were "honest and transparent".

"Under this new situation, the governor has the responsibility to look for an alternative government. He should talk to all parties and if he finds that such a possibility is non-existent, then he should recommend invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution and dissolve the Assembly," Das said.

But Goswami, who handed over a memorandum to the governor, did not seem to agree entirely. He believed there was no possibility of forming a stable government and hence President's Rule should be invoked.


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