The Congress responded cautiously on Monday to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s withdrawal of support to the BJP-led Arjun Munda government over the issue of “rotation of power,” thereby reducing the latter to a minority.
“This is an internal matter between the BJP and [the] JMM,” Congress functionary in charge of Jharkhand, Shakeel Ahmed, said here, stressing, “The Congress has no role to play, unless the JMM officially withdraws support and the State government led by Chief Minister Arjun Munda formally resigns.”
The Congress’ caution springs from reports that the JMM is pushing for a change in the chief ministership. The JMM wants the next Chief Minister from the party, failing which it is willing to continue to back the BJP government, provided Mr. Munda is replaced with some other BJP leader. Asked whether the Congress was willing to do business with the JMM — a former partner — Mr. Ahmed said: “As far as the Congress is concerned, the JMM is currently a partner of the BJP, and so there is no question now of considering anything.”
Pressed on about the Congress’ plans in Jharkhand, Mr. Ahmed said that his party would meet to discuss what it would do only after, and if, the BJP government in Jharkhand collapses. “At present we are observing the development as a political party,” he said.
Sources in the party, meanwhile, said that if the BJP government did collapse, it would have two options — either explore the possibility of forming a government, or allow President’s Rule to be imposed. As things stand, these sources indicated, the party was likely to explore the first option in the eventuality of the fall of the BJP government.
The relations between the BJP and the JMM have been strained ever since Mr. Munda wrote to the JMM on January 3, denying that there had ever been an agreement between them on “rotation of power.”