Ending a three-week long political impasse in Jharkhand, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha reached an agreement on sharing power on rotational basis with a BJP-led government to take over within a week.
"We have decided that BJP and JMM will share power for 28 months each with the BJP taking over in the first phase," Chief Minister Shibu Soren and BJP's chief ministerial candidate Arjun Munda told a joint press conference in Ranchi on Monday after a meeting of the coalition partners. Asked when he would step down as chief minister, Soren replied "very soon" without giving a date.
The BJP and All Jharkhand Students Union leaders, however, claimed the powershift would take place on May 25. "Both Soren's resignation and Munda staking claim may take place on May 25 simultaneously," a senior AJSU leader and a national BJP leader told PTI. The BJP had announced its decision to withdraw support to the Shibu Soren government on April 28 after the JMM chief voted against the BJP-sponsored cut-motions in the Lok Sabha. However, after Soren's son Hemant made an offer to BJP to head the government in the state, the BJP revoked its decision but a tussle ensued on the power-sharing
On May 8, the BJP announced that it would head a new coalition for the remainder of the tenure with support from alliance partners JMM and AJSU. The same evening Soren said the new government would be on a rotational basis, causing a stalemate. Both the JMM and the BJP have 18 seats each in the 82-member House. Other members of the coalition are Janata Dal-United with two seats, All Jharkhand Students Union which has five seats and others two. Soren and Hemant, who is also leader of the JMM Legislature Party, were present at Monday's meeting where BJP was represented by senior party leader Karuna Shukla, party general secretary Arjun Munda and present Deputy Chief Minister Raghubar Das.
The AJSU was represented by Sudesh Mahato.
JMM leaders Teklal Mahato and Hemlal Murmu- who were said to be opposed to Hemant's offer- were also present. Munda, party's tribal face, is set to lead the government as he has the support of most MLAs, BJP sources said.