Munda resigns as Chief Minister, Sonia to decide on next incumbent
Ranchi, Sep 14: Drawing a curtain on the nine-day political turmoil, Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda today resigned without facing a trial of strength, while the Opposition UPA swung into action authorising chairperson Sonia Gandhi to decide on the Chief Ministerial candidate for the alternative government.
It was irony of sort as Mr Munda resigned when his NDA government was reduced to a minority following resignation by four MLAs with whose support he had formed the government 18 months ago.
Mr Sibu Soren, the then Chief Minister for ten days, had to bow out under the similar condition in a number game after a Supreme Court intervention.
The day proved lucky for the UPA when three of their Legislators got reprieve when in the morning Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari reserved his decision on their disqualification and allowed them to vote in the floor test.
Mr Munda before putting in his paper to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi announced his resignation in a brief extended monsoon session.
No sooner had Mr Munda resigned, than the Opposition UPA in the state embarked on hectic parleys to decide the Chief Ministerial candidate.
The meeting was held in presence of Railway Minster Lalu Prasad, Union Food Processing Minister Subodh Kant Sahay, Ms Noor Banu (Cong), in-charge of Jharkhand, Rajya Sabha member from the state Mebel Rebello and other senior leaders. After the meeting Railway Minister Lalu Prasad (RJD) said the UPA chairperson would decide on the Chief Ministerial candidate though ''our blessings'' were with Mr Madhu Koda, one of the four rebel Ministers, who won from Jagannathpur seat as an Independent.
Mr Prasad said Ms Gandhi was expected to give decision by this evening and then the UPA would go to the Governor, staking claim to form the next government.
Earlier, after accepting the resignation, the Governor asked the Chief Minister to contnue till the alternative government was installed.
The extended session was supposed to take up floor test for Mr Munda but as it began at 1100 hrs, Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari asked the Chief Minister to speak.
Mr Munda spoke just for about five minutes and without facing the trial of strength he announced his resignation.
The rebel Ministers joined the Opposition UPA, taking its tally to 43 in the 82-member House.
Mr Munda said he lost in the number game and expressed happiness that the NDA was united.
It did not matter whether he sat in the Opposition or in the Treasury, but the NDA would deliver goods as responsible representative of the people, he said.
The NDA now comprised BJP (30), JD-U (6), including the Speaker, AJSU (2) and nominated (1).
The UPA consisted of JMM (17), Cong (9), RJD (7), UGDP (2), Forward Bloc (2), including the expelled MLA from the party, CPI-ML (1), Independent (1) and four rebel Ministers from the NDA.