Hemant Soren seeks clarity from Gujarat government on Election Commission’s note, calls for special session
New Delhi: Jharkhand’s ruling coalition on Thursday met Governor Ramesh Bais and asked him to clear the air over a confidential Election Commission (EC) report on Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s assembly membership, a week after the Raj Bhavan received a sealed envelope from the state. A political crisis broke out in ,
Separately, the alliance also announced several decisions aimed at preparing for any political instability, increasing its popularity and showing its strength in the assembly. This included the announcement of a special session, the implementation of an old pension scheme popular among government employees and the decision to hire chartered aircraft for a month.
Soren’s status as an MLA is under question. On August 25, the Election Commission sent a report to Bais, recommending Soren’s disqualification from the Assembly on charges of illegally obtaining a mining license. The governor has not made any statement about it since then, while speculations have swirled and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded Soren’s resignation.
“With a heavy heart, we request Your Excellency to clear the air, which will not only quell the confusion, but will also put an end to attempts to destabilize a democratically elected government by illegal means. We request you to declare the opinion (if received) from the Election Commission immediately,” read the memorandum submitted by the 10-member delegation to twenty-two.
“The selective leak from Raj Bhavan is unfortunate and is creating a state of chaos, confusion and uncertainty which plagues the administration…,” the memorandum said.
The Raj Bhavan said that it will take a decision on the matter soon. “A UPA delegation today met the Governor and discussed the issue of office of profit and the opinion of the Election Commission on the membership of the Chief Minister. The delegation requested the Governor to clarify things on the issue. The Governor assured the delegation that he would soon take adequate steps on the issue.
In the 81-member assembly, 49 belong to the ruling coalition. Of these, 30 are from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, 18 from Congress and one from Rashtriya Janata Dal. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally All Jharkhand Students’ Union have 28 MLAs and two independents. A Nationalist Congress Party legislator and a member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) are supporting the government.
The development comes two days after the alliance captured a massive swathe of its 31 MPs at a resort in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh. On Wednesday, four Congress MLAs went back to Ranchi for a cabinet meeting, while an RJD member joined the MLAs at the resort.
The crisis began last Thursday when the Election Commission sent a report in a sealed cover to Bais, who had sought the poll watchdog’s advice after the BJP sought action against the CM for allegedly holding an “office of profit”. – In this case, a mining license.
It was not clear whether the Election Commission had also recommended that Soren be barred from contesting further elections for a specific time period. Since then, the contents of the hard guard letter have not been made public and the governor has not spoken about his impending decision, while the BJP has demanded Soren’s resignation.
Soren and JMM have denied all the allegations.
Later in the day, the cabinet chaired by Soren decided to hold a one-day assembly session, in what leaders of the ruling coalition said could be a show of strength, discussing the political situation arising out of the Election Commission’s letter, And the deduction can be finalized. Off date for deciding the controversial domicile policy. “When we have a day-long session, we can bring some issues and resolutions that may require voting. Other important political issues will also be discussed,” said a senior minister who attended the cabinet meeting, requesting anonymity.