With uncertainty over Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s continued refusal to end, the ruling UPA allies in Jharkhand – JMM, Congress and RJD – on Sunday accused the opposition BJP of misusing constitutional bodies and plotting to topple the government.
Putting up a united front at a press conference, the leaders of the three parties asked Governor Ramesh Bains why Suren has been disqualified as an MLA, with no official response being received from him so far. Claiming that the delay was leading to horse-trading efforts by the BJP, they requested the Governor to clear the confusion prevailing for the past four days.
The incident relates to the acquisition of a mining lease in Angara block of Ranchi district last year. Although he surrendered it, the BJP said it was abuse of office as he holds the mining portfolio and sent a petition to the governor seeking his disqualification under the Representation of the People Act (RPA).
After sending it to the Election Commission, the Election Panel sends its decision to the Governor. On August 25, The Indian Express learned that the EC had recommended Soren’s disqualification as a legislator under Section 9A of the RPA, which prohibits elected representatives from “entering into any agreement with the government to supply goods” or “perform any work.” By it.
With the governor yet to announce the decision, the ruling coalition on Sunday questioned the delay.
“If any report is received from the EC [that Soren should lose Assembly seat], the Governor should publish it and announce his decision. Development works are being disrupted due to confusion,” senior JMM MLA and state minister Champai Soren told a press conference. “It is now a strange situation and there is no specific reason for it. We have come to know that the EC has sent the letter and it is with the Governor, but he has not released the official response. He didn’t. Democracy and people are being disrespected in this state. The atmosphere we see in the country, the horse-trading of MLAs like we saw in Maharashtra… the same thing is happening in Jharkhand. Our alliance is strong.”
Banna Gupta of the Congress, a minister also said: “This is a well-planned conspiracy to defame the people of Jharkhand…. If the EC has taken any decision it should be made public.
Later, in a joint statement, the UPA legislators said, “Does the Raj Bhavan want to buy time (to make the decision public) and fuel horse-trading? … We have seen how the dignity of the post of Governor has been eroded in Maharashtra and other states. It’s unfortunate.”
Newsletter | Click to get the best explainer of the day in your inbox
In the 81-member House, JMM has 30 MLAs, Congress 18 and RJD one. BJP has 26.
Reacting to the statement, BJP state chief Deepak Prakash said, “The law will run at its own pace.”
BJP legislative party leader and former chief minister Babulal Marandi tweeted: “The Chief Minister, who has made excuses ranging from illness to others, has sought more time from the constitutional institution. [in sending his response to the EC] In such a hurry he is pressuring the EC/Governor to take a decision. It seems the MLAs with him will not stand for two days.”