Jharkhand heads for President Rule?

Ranchi, Jan 9 (IANS) A day after Chief Minister Arjun Munda quit, Jharkhand seems to be heading towards President Rule -- for the third time in 12 years.

Governor Syed Ahmad Tuesday night sent his report to the central home ministry, and Home Minister Sushilkumar Sinde confirmed in New Delhi that he had received it.

According to informed sources, President's Rule would be imposed on the state, and a decision to dissolve the 82-member assembly would be taken later.

Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Munda resigned as chief minister Tuesday after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) formally pulled out of the coalition ministry.

The JMM decided to end its alliance with the BJP after the latter refused to share the chief minister's post with it although both parties had an equal number of legislators.

Jharkhand has witnessed President's Rule twice since it was carved out of Bihar in 2000. On both occasions, JMM chief Shibu Soren was the chief minister.

On Wednesday, Congress Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay met the governor and requested him to ignore the outgoing cabinet suggestion to dissolve the house.

But Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM-P) president and former chief Minister Babulal Marandi told the governor to order elections after dissolving the assembly. The BJP reiterated the demand.

RJD president Lalu Yadav in Patna said the assembly should be kept in suspended animation and President's Rule should be imposed.

He said the possibility of forming a new government must be explored.

The 28-month-old Munda government fell Tuesday after the JMM withdrew support and began exploring the chances of forming a new government with Congress backing.

If the Congress, RJD and independents support JMM, then 41 legislators would be in a position to try cobbling a coalition.

Of the 82 legislators, 37 are in favour of a new mandate. The 37 include 18 of the BJP, six of AJSU, two of JD-U and 11 of JVM-P.

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