Koda resigns making number game tougher for Shibu Soren

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Ranchi, Aug 23 (UNI) Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda today demitted office without facing the August 25 floor test in order to ''honour democracy'' and made it clear that Independent MLAs would not back JMM president Shibu Soren, whose party with 17 MLAs parted ways with his government on August 17.

By then, Mr Koda earned the distinction of the longest serving Chief Minister as an Independent MLA in the country for nearly two years.

Two other Independents, who rose to the post, were Dr F A Khonglam from Meghalaya, who was in the saddle for one year, and Mr Biswanath Das from Orissa.

The focus again shifted to Raj Bhavan as to how Governor Syed Sibtey Razi would now react to the JMM president's bid to take the reins in the wake of Mr Koda and his loyalists' refusal to support ''guruji''.

Mr Koda, who took the reins of the state 23 months back, ousting Arjun Munda-led NDA government, this evening went to Raj Bhavan accompanied by five other Independent MLAs (all Ministers) and submitted resignations to the Governor.

'' We do not have the required strength in the House of 81, and honouring democracy I was compelled to put in the paper...but there is no question of me joining the Shibu Soren-led government, '' Mr Koda told reporters.

In a voice emotionally choked, Mr Koda said, '' I was assigned to run the state under the UPA guideline and it was delivering the goods...and there was no need of creating instability, '' Mr Koda said making a veiled attack on Mr Soren.

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