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Jharkhand political crisis | Not announcing EC ruling may fuel horse-trading: UPA tells Governor

Stating that the ruling coalition is ready to face any situation, Congress leader and minister Banna Gupta requested the Governor to clear the confusion.

August 28, 2022 / 10:22 PM IST
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren (Image: Hemant Soren/ @HemantSorenJMM)

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief and Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren (Image: Hemant Soren/ @HemantSorenJMM)

As the suspense over the continuation of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren continued, UPA charged the Governor with encouraging political horse-trading by deliberately delaying announcing a decision on the CM's membership of the legislature.

After a series of meetings, coalition partners JMM, Congress, and RJD in a joint press conference urged Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais to clear the confusion prevailing in the state for the past four days.

If there is any report from the EC (ruling Soren should lose legislature membership on account of a mining lease renewal during his last term as CM), the Governor should make it public and announce his decision. Developmental works are being hampered due to the confusion, senior JMM MLA and minister Champai Soren told the press conference. Stating that the ruling coalition is ready to face any situation, Congress leader and minister Banna Gupta requested the Governor to clear the confusion.

Later, in a joint statement, the UPA MLAs said, Does Raj Bhavan want to fuel horse-trading by buying time (in making the decision public)? … What is the legal advice that he is not able to take? This is an insult to democracy and the people." Raj Bhavan sources maintained that Bais is likely to take a call on the matter on Monday.

The CM's party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha suspects that the BJP may make a serious attempt to poach MLAs from it and the Congress in a bid to topple the government in a manner similar to Maharashtra. We have seen how the dignity of the post of Governor was degraded in Maharashtra and other states. This is unfortunate. It is very sad that an outside gang is operating in the state," the statement read.

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The UPA legislators also claimed that the BJP was unable to digest a tribal chief minister. The statement urged the Governor to "avoid pushing the state towards chaos… The Constitution has given the responsibility of protecting the rights of Adivasi-Dalit on your shoulders."

Reacting to the statement, BJP state president and MP Deepak Prakash said, Law will take its own course. The ruling coalition has 49 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly.

Following a petition by the BJP seeking the CM's disqualification from the Assembly in an office of profit case, the EC has sent its decision to state Governor Ramesh Bais on August 25. Though the EC's decision is not yet made official, there was a buzz that the poll panel has recommended Hemant Soren's disqualification as an MLA. The BJP has sought Soren's disqualification for violating Section 9 (A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which deals with disqualification for government contracts.

The clause states that a person shall be disqualified if, and for so long as, there subsists a contract entered into by him in the course of his trade or business with the appropriate government for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any works undertaken by, that government. The issue was referred to the governor and by him to the EC, as Article 192 of the Constitution states that on rulings regarding an MLA's disqualification, the question shall be referred to the governor who in turn shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion.

The JMM, the largest party, has 30 MLAs, the Congress 18 legislators, and the RJD one. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the House.
PTI
first published: Aug 28, 2022 10:22 pm
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