JMM ends support, BJP government totters

Ranchi, Jan 7 (IANS) The JMM Monday withdrew support to the BJP-led government in Jharkhand, reducing it to a minority in the 82-member house and plunging the state into a political crisis.

"We have withdrawn support to the Arjun Munda government," Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren told reporters, after top JMM leaders insisted their party should get the chief minister's post.

"We will meet the governor Tuesday to give him the letter of withdrawal of support. There is no possibility of a patch up with the BJP," he added.

The announcement first came from Hemant Soren, Shibu Soren's son and Jharkhand's deputy chief minister.

Hemant Soren said: "We have decided to withdraw support... We had put some points before Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. These include a change of guard and sharing of power after 28 months."

The party also sought an apology from a BJP MP for allegedly passing "indecent remarks" about Shibu Soren.

The JMM executive committee met earlier Monday.

In an apparent bid to prevent the JMM from ending its support, Chief Minister Arjun Munda met Shibu Soren for half hour Monday. Munda did not speak to the media after the meeting.

The JMM Sunday night announced it would decide whether or not to continue its alliance with the BJP.

Relations between the two have been strained ever since Munda, in a written reply to the JMM Jan 3, denied that there was an agreement between them on sharing the chief minister's post after 28 months in office.

The 28-month period ends Thursday.

The JMM has five ministers in the BJP-led cabinet including Hemant Soren. The BJP-led government headed by Munda was formed in September 2010 with the JMM's support, which has 18 legislators in the assembly.

Apart from BJP's 18 legislators, the party also has the support of six All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) members and two Janata Dal-United (JD-U) members.

The Congress has 12 members, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) has 11, RJD six and rest belong to smaller parties or are independents.

The JMM is now trying to form a government with Congress support.

Jharkhand Congress president Pradeep balmuchu met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi Monday.

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