JMM withdraws support to Koda govt; CM refuses to resign

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Ranchi, Aug 17 (UNI) Twenty three-month-old Madhu Koda-led UPA government was reduced to minority with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) today withdrawing support to a it even as the Chief Minister refused to step down saying ''guruji'' took the decision in haste.

The JMM's Central Committe after eight-hour deliberation here this evening, went to Raj Bhavan and handed over the letter of withdrawal of support to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi.

The Governor said he would act according to constitutional provisions.

The Koda government, which had the strength of 43 members was recuded to minority as the JMM's strenght stood at 17 in the 82-member House.

JMM president Shibu Soren said Mr Koda became a ''burden'', which compelled his party to take the decision in that direction, adding that he requested the governor to create a conducive atmosphere so that alternative government could be formed.

However, in his reaction, the Chief Minister said the JMM took the decision in a haste.

Mr Koda said he would not resign till he was instructed by the UPA's central leadership.

The Chief Minister claimed that Independent MLAs were with him and refused to ''accept'' that his government was reduced to minority.

After eight-hour long party's central committee meeting, JMM president Shibu Soren accompanied by other senior leaders reached the Raj Bhavan at 1900 hrs.

After Mr Soren handed over the letter, Deputy Chief Minister Sudhir Mahto along with two other ministers of the party--Dulal Bhuiyan and Nalin Soren also tendered their resignation letters from the council of ministers to the Governor.

The JMM leaders handed over the letters in full glare of media.

Earlier in the morning, the crucial cenral committee meeting of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha began even as Independent MLAs hoped that ''a midle path'' could be worked out to avoid President rule in the state.

Significantly, Health Minister Bhanu Pratap Shahi, a pro-Koda Independent MLA and HRD minister Bandhu Tirkey (UGDP), a pro-Soren legislator were present in the meeting for a brief priod.

Mr Shahi said, ''guriji'' (Shibu Soren here) was father figure of the state and all legislators were like his ''sons''.

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