Jharkhand: UPA MLAs return to Ranchi ahead of trust vote

New Delhi: Amid a deepening political crisis in Jharkhand and a 10-day-long standoff and suspense, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government led by Chief Minister Hemant Soren is set to seek a trust vote in the state assembly on Monday.

With hours left for the decision, the UPA and its opposition have been prompted to act. While the UPA MLAs, camping at a resort in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh’s Raipur, reached Ranchi on Sunday evening, the BJP called its MLAs for a meeting on the same day to chalk out its strategy for the House.

It is being said that till the trust vote, all the UPA MLAs will be made to stand at one place in Ranchi.

There is confusion in Jharkhand. Our delegation met the governor [on 1st September] and he assured us to clear the air in a day or two but nothing has happened so far. So, we will take our stand in the state assembly and prove our majority,” state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alamgir Alam told media persons in Ranchi.

“Mr. Soren’s disqualification as a member of the House will not stand in court and will be dismissed in hours,” a cabinet minister said on Sunday.

On 1 September, some UPA leaders submitted a memorandum to Governor Ramesh Bais, seeking clarification on reports of Mr Soren’s disqualification as a member of the House, in connection with an ‘office of profit’ matter. The UPA leaders said the governor had assured them that the prevailing wind of political uncertainty would clear in two days’ time and leave for Delhi.

uncertainty enough
It was an alleged decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI), which was sent to Mr Bais on August 25, that sparked the ongoing political controversy in the state. The ECI’s move was reportedly prompted by a petition by state BJP leaders to the governor, seeking Mr Soren’s disqualification. However, Mr Bais is yet to make the Election Commission’s decision public.

On August 31, over 31 UPA MLAs were shifted to a luxurious resort in Raipur, amid fears of poaching by the BJP. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leaders said the BJP “might have made a serious attempt to poach UPA MLAs in a year’s time in a bid to topple the democratically elected Soren government like in Maharashtra.”

Mr. Alam had returned from Raipur on September 2 to attend the cabinet meeting in which it was decided to seek a trust vote in the assembly. Some UPA MLAs on their way from Raipur to Ranchi said they had received a letter from the Assembly Secretariat that Mr Soren had expressed his desire to move a confidence motion in the House to prove his government’s majority.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and the Nationalist Congress Party are one each. Opposition BJP has 26 MLAs, while its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) has two MLAs; Two other MLAs support him.

Earlier it was said that a special session of the House is being called for the trust vote. Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahato, however, rubbished the claims, saying, “The one-day assembly session is being called to complete the work which was left incomplete in the previous session. This is not a special session as there is no political crisis in Jharkhand.

A Congress party MLA on his part said, “At most you can say that this will be an extension of the previous session of the House.”