Home India Politics Another BJP-JMM government, another twist in Jharkhand’s political tale

Another BJP-JMM government, another twist in Jharkhand’s political tale

By Nityanand Shukla, IANS,

Ranchi : The shifting sands of political equations in Jharkhand will soon see the eighth government in less than 10 years and Arjun Munda of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) take over as chief minister for the third time.

The union cabinet Thursday approved the lifting of President’s Rule in the state, clearing the way for another BJP-Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) government. The thirst for power has brought the sometime friends, sometime foes together again after just three months.

“The governor (M.O.H. Farook) called us informally and wanted to know when we will take oath. I suggested Sep 11,” Munda told reporters here Thursday, two days after he staked claim with the support of 45 legislators in the 81-member assembly.

Most people are unimpressed.

“The instinct to grab power and self interest of leaders are the major causes of misery of the people of Jharkhand,” said Nitish Priyadarshi, an activist.

Jharkhand was created in 2000, along with Uttaranchal (now Uttarakhand) and Chhattisgarh. While the two states have moved ahead on the development index, Jharkhand still lags behind despite being one of the richest mineral states of the country.

Experts point out that the coal, iron ore and other minerals cater to the needs of other states, and more than 54 percent of the people still live below the poverty line (BPL).

It has been a rollercoaster political ride for the state.

When Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar in November 2000, BJP leader Babulal Marandi became its first chief minister. But Marandi was ousted in March 2003 by unhappy alliance partners, and Munda took over.

After the assembly elections in March 2005, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren became chief minister — for nine days — thought the numbers were against him. Soren quit when he failed to prove his majority and Munda again became chief minister.

The next year, in September, he was ousted by independent legislator Madhu Koda.

Koda was backed by the Congress, the JMM and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and ruled the state till August 2008. His reign ended when he was allegedly found to be at the centre of a Rs.2,500 crore money laundering scam.

Soren was waiting in the wings and stepped in, for the second time, after he supported the Manmohan Singh government on the nuclear deal in July 2008. Soren became chief minister the next month in August 2008 but quit in January 2009 after he lost the Tamar assembly by-poll.

President’s Rule was imposed the same month after no party came forward to form the government.

Elections were held 11 months later in December-January last year, but there was little relief from the political uncertainty with no party getting a majority.

The BJP and JMM joined hands and Soren became chief minister for a third time on Dec 30 last year only to quit May 30. Relations between the two parties had soured in April when Soren voted in favour of the Manmohan Singh government against the BJP’s cut motions in parliament.

An angry BJP withdrew support to Soren’s government in May and the JMM chief was forced to resign May 30.

President’s Rule was imposed on June 1 this year.

The JMM and the BJP are together again. For how long, wonder weary Jharkhand citizens.