Koda quits, Soren set to become Jharkhand chief minister (Lead)August 23rd, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS
Ranchi, Aug 23 (IANS) Madhu Koda heeded the advice of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and stepped down as Jharkhand chief minister Saturday evening with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren set to take his place.Koda met Governor Syed Sibte Razi along with four ministers, who are independent legislators like him, and handed over his resignation.
Koda had gone to New Delhi where the leadership of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), which supported his government, advised him to step down. He returned to Ranchi Saturday afternoon.
“Numbers were against me. I have resigned on moral grounds,” he told reporters.
Asked about supporting the JMM chief, Koda said: “I will not support Soren and he will face problems in forming the government.”
JMM, on the other hand, was looking forward to win over Koda.
“We will stake claim to form the next government,” Hemlal Murmu, JMM Lok Sabha MP, said, adding: “Koda will be made chairperson of Jharkhand UPA.”
Soren staked his claim to the post after supporting the Manmohan Singh government in the trust vote July 22. The Congress and Rahtriya Janata Dal (RJD) have expressed support to him in government formation, JMM sources said.
However, Koda had remained adamant, forcing the JMM to withdraw support to his government Aug 17. The move reduced the Koda government to a minority: in the 82-member house, Koda had support of only 25 legislators.
As the UPA leadership summoned him to the national capital, Koda moved to New Delhi Friday morning and met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and RJD chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad.
He also had a marathon meeting at External Affairs Minister Prabnab Mukherjee’s residence Friday night. According to sources central UPA leaders asked him to tender his resignation.
Soren, meanwhile, arrived here Saturday evening. Apart from the Congress and RJD, Soren also enjoys support of two independent legislators Bandhu Tirkey and Kamlesh Singh who were ministers in the Koda government and two suspended Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators Vishnu Bhaiya and Manohar Tekriwal, JMM sources said.
This way, Soren claims to have the support of 37 legislators and is likely to meet other independent legislators to get their support.
The JMM had supported the Koda government in 2006 after four independent legislators who were also ministers withdrew their support to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government headed by Arjun Munda of BJP.