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Jharkhand opposition MLAs leave Ranchi
March 16, 2003 21:52 IST
Opposition legislators in Jharkhand on Sunday left Ranchi ahead of a one-day session of the assembly called by their leader and Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari.
The speaker decided to go ahead with the trial of strength for Chief Minister Babulal Marandi.
Janata Dal-United president Goutam Sagar Rana said in Ranchi that the MLAs, 'to remain united, have left for Bundu till tomorrow's assembly session'.
Bundu, 40km from Ranchi, is the assembly constituency of state Samata Party leader and rebel Excise Minister Ramesh Singh Munda.
Those who boarded buses included five of the rebel ministers -- Lalchand Mahato, Madhu Singh, Munda, Joba Manjhi and Baidyanath Ram.
However, it was not known whether all the 42 MLAs had left in the convoy from the assembly premises.
With no word from Governor M Rama Jois and the Cabinet separately calling a two-day session of the House from March 27 for the confidence vote and passing of the budget, Namdhari said, "There is no constitutional crisis."
Quoting from the rulebook, 'Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha Karyasanchlan Niyamavali', Namdhari said, "Under section 175(2), I have the right to convene the assembly and read out the governor's communiqués and directions to the members in the House."
Namdhari said if the governor did not send the communiqué to him, then under section 15, the Leader of the House could announce the dates.
He alleged that Marandi's advisers were misleading him.
Marandi, whose government was reduced to a minority during voting on a cut motion on March 13, held a meeting with a minister of an ally of the ruling coalition and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders at his residence, sources said.
Later in the evening, he also met MLAs loyal to him. But no decision could be taken on the course of action ahead of Monday's confidence vote.
In Kolkata, BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu said his party had not discussed the issue of replacing Marandi.
"Our immediate concern is proving the majority on the floor of the assembly. Once we prove our majority we will decide our future course of action with JD-U, Samata Party and our friends. All options are open," he said.
Commenting on reports that Union minister Karia Munda might replace Marandi, Naidu said there had been no discussion on the issue.
In Patna, Defence Minister and Samata Party president George Fernandes accused Namdhari of having bypassed parliamentary procedure and asked him to resign before becoming a chief ministerial candidate.
Asked if there was any move to change the National Democratic Alliance leadership in Jharkhand, Fernandes said, "I am not in a position to comment since the BJP is looking into the matter."
Asked if the party was contemplating action against the rebel Samata ministers, Fernandes said, "We have not yet thought of taking action against them. We are trying to resolve the matter."