Five governments in eight years of Jharkhand

August 20th, 2008 - 2:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Aug 20 (IANS) Jharkhand is a state less than eight years old. It has already had five governments. The current one of Chief Minister Madhu Koda has been asked to prove its majority Aug 25 after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) withdrew support Aug 17.If this government, now in a minority, does not survive the confidence motion, it will mean none of the five governments has lasted more than two-and-a-half years, thanks to the plethora of coalitions, small parties and independent legislators who have propped up various governments and then withdrawn support.

Jharkhand was formed on Nov 15, 2000, carved out of Bihar. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) formed the first government that was headed by Babulal Marandi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The BJP-led government was supported by the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and Samata Party. Later both JD-U and Samata Party were merged and the five ministers belonging to the two parties revolted against Marandi in March 2003.

Marandi had to resign as chief minister and BJP’S Arjun Munda replaced him.

The first election to the state assembly was held in February 2005. Despite the fact that the numbers were against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Governor Syed Sibte Razi invited JMM chief Shibu Soren to form the government on March 2, 2005. JMM is a constituent of the UPA.

The invitation to Soren led to much drama as the NDA paraded its legislators to then president A.P.J Abdul Kalam and also moved the Supreme Court.

Soren failed to secure the numbers and was forced to resign by the central government on March 11, 2005.

Munda again took charge of the state. But his government could not survive for more than one-and-a-half years as four independent legislators, including Madhu Koda, revolted against him in September 2006.

Munda tendered his resignation and Koda became chief minister with the support of the Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and JMM, all part of the UPA, and smaller parties as well as other independents.

Now, after the JMM withdrew support, Koda has the backing of only 25 legislators in the 82-member assembly.

Soren, who wants to become the chief minister once again, staked his claim to the post Tuesday, but Koda refused to step down. Soren has secured the backing of the Congress after supporting the Manmohan Singh government in the crucial July 22 trust vote in parliament.

“The fractured mandate is the reason for instability in the state. In a fractured mandate, the role of smaller parties and independent legislators become vital. Jharkhand is a small state and one and two legislators decide the fate of the government,” said Munda.

Marandi said he favoured fresh elections in the current situation.

“We should not fear assembly elections. Elections after elections should take place until people come out with a clear mandate. In Bihar, people came out with a clear mandate after two elections.”

Political analysts believe that increasing the number of assembly seats may help an alliance to get absolute majority. There was a demand to increase the assembly seats from 82 to 150.

“There are two options to end political instability. First, to increase the number of assembly seats. Second, that politicians should behave in a responsible way and leave their personal agenda behind while ruling the state,” said R.N. Gaud, a retired professor of Ranchi University.

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