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President's Rule imposed in Jharkhand

By Condemnation by JMM, BJP

NEW DELHI, June 1 (IANS): President's Rule was imposed in Jharkhand today, two days after Shibu Soren stepped down as Chief Minister and none of the three major political parties in the state showing willingness to form an alternate government.

The Cabinet committee on political affairs chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met this morning to approve the imposition of President's Rule and put the legislative assembly in suspended animation, official sources said.

The decision came after Governor MOH Farook sent a report on the political situation in the State to the Union Home Ministry on Monday night.

Before sending the report, the Governor summoned leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) to see if they could form a government after Soren stepped down on Sunday.

The three parties told Farook they did not have the numbers to form an alternative government.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha Chief Minister had asked for time till May 31 to prove majority after his government lost support of the BJP.

The Governor in his report had pointed out that no party was willing to form the government and suggested that the state be put under a short spell of President's Rule.

The JMM-led five-month-old government was propped up by the BJP with 18 members, the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) with five legislators and the Janata Dal-United's two members.

The Congress has 14 members, the JVM-P 11, and the Rashtriya Janata Dal five legislators. There also are five Independents.

The JMM-led government was reduced to minority after the BJP withdrew support May 24.

Jharkhand was plunged into political uncertainty when Soren voted against the BJP's cut motions in parliament last month to favour the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.

JMM, BJP condemn President's Rule: The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may have parted ways to trigger a crisis that saw the Union Cabinet approve President's Rule in Jharkhand today, but both parties were in sync in condemning the move. The Congress, however, said the Central Government had no other option.

"It is unfortunate that President's Rule has been imposed in Jharkhand. This should not have happened. Efforts will be made by our party to install a popular government in the State," JMM central committee member Supriyo Bhattacharya told IANS, two days after his leader Shibu Soren stepped down as Chief Minister on Sunday.

Added former Chief Minister and BJP national secretary Arjun Munda: "President's Rule is not an option in democracy. The BJP is observing the political situation and the party will monitor the activities taking place under President's Rule."

The Congress justified President's Rule but also advocated a popular government in the State. "There was no option but to impose President's Rule in Jharkhand. The Governor explored the possibilities of formation of government in the State, but no party came out with numbers to form the government. Effort should be made to install a popular government as the assembly has been kept under suspended animation," Shailesh Sinha, general secretary of the State Congress unit, told IANS.

The All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), which had propped the JMM-BJP government, has blamed both national parties.

"Both the Congress and the BJP are equally responsible for President's Rule in the State," said AJSU legislator Uma Kant Razak.

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