A day after announcing withdrawal of support to Shibu Soren government in Jharkhand, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday refrained from implementing the decision and was considering a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha offer to support a new dispensation led by it.
The trigger for a rethink on the part of BJP to go ahead with withdrawal of support was provided on Thursday evening by a second letter from JMM legislature party leader Hemant Soren, son of Shibu, to BJP President Nitin Gadkari informing him that JMM would support a new government led by its key alliance partner.
"We have received a letter from Hemant Soren saying that if the BJP wishes to form a government in Jharkhand, JMM would extend its support", BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told PTI in New Delhi.
Gadkari would discuss the JMM offer with members of the BJP Parliamentary Board and take a decision at the earliest 'keeping the welfare of the people of Jharkhand in mind,' she said.
Asked about JMM's reported demand for Deputy Chief Ministership for Hemant in return for the party's support, Sitharaman said "the letter (from Hemant) makes no such demand".
Asked about the content of his second letter to Gadkari, Hemant told a press conference in Ranchi on Thursday night that he had conveyed to him that "keeping the interest of the state in mind and ending the political turmoil in Jharkhand, the JMM legislature party has requested BJP to form a new government which the JMM will support."
Asked when Shibu Soren would resign, he said he would do so if BJP initiated government formation with JMM. On whether JMM would accept a chief minister from BJP, Hemant replied in the affirmative.
On whether a tribal or a non-tribal would be preferred as chief minister, Hemant replied "tribal". That BJP was having second thoughts about its decision to withdraw support to Shibu Soren government and exploring other options became evident when it twice cancelled an appointment with the Governor--the first in the morning and the second in the evening.
A delegation of BJP MLAs was scheduled to call on the Governor at 11:00 am, which was postponed to 7:00 pm and thereafter cancelled. "As our discussions over the sensitive issue remain inconclusive, our delegation could not meet the Governor for a second time," BJP's Jharkhand unit General Secretary Ganesh Mishra told PTI in Ranchi.
Earlier, a delegation of BJP MLAs were scheduled to call on the governor at 11:00 am, which was postponed to 7:00 pm and thereafter cancelled. "As our discussions over the sensitive issue remains still inconclusive our delegation could not meet the Governor for a second time," BJP's state unit General Secretary Ganesh Mishra, told PTI.
He said after Hemant's apology on Wednesday for his father Chief Minister Shibu Soren voting for the UPA on a cut motion and request for a review of BJP's decision to withdraw support, it was all the more important for a thorough discussion.
Earlier in the day, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said in New Delhi that party MLAs would meet the Governor and convey the decision to take back support from the JMM-led government.
On Soren writing to senior BJP leaders L K Advani, Gadkari and her expressing regret that he had voted against the BJP-led NDA's cut motion in Parliament as he was unwell, Swaraj said "we are not impressed with his letter and our decision to withdraw support remains firm."