Hemant Soren’s likely disqualification fuels politics in Jharkhand

Ranchi, New Delhi:

The likelihood that Chief Minister Hemant Soren could be disqualified as a lawmaker is already driving rhetoric and strategizing in Jharkhand politics, even if the final decision remains in a sealed envelope with the governor.

“We are ready,” Mr. Soren said in a tweet, “You can buy constitutional institutions, but how are you going to buy public support?” It came after an angry statement hours earlier: “It would appear that BJP leaders, including a BJP MP and his puppet journalists, wrote the [Election Commission’s] report, which is otherwise a sealed cover report. »

The BJP – which had called for Mr Soren to be disqualified for entering into a mining contract with the government while in power – is already demanding midterm polls “on moral grounds”. But Mr Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and his partner the Congress are convinced that “the government will remain in place”.

“We really want Hemant Soren to remain as chief minister. We have the strength,” said Alamgir Alam, leader of the Congress Legislative Party, when asked if a new face would be put in place if Mr Soren was disqualified, or if Mr. Soren would. take a new oath and contest if he loses his membership in the assembly. “Let the Governor decide. The CM told me that he has not yet received communication on the sealed report. We are working on our strategy.”

In the 82-member assembly, JMM (30) and Congress (17) have 47 members – just above the majority – plus support from a few others. The BJP is the main opposition with 25 members, according to the Vidhan Sabha website.

But the government was already spooked when three JMM MPs were recently caught with Rs 50 lakh in cash in neighboring Bengal, leading to allegations that the BJP is “using the money to overthrow the government”. The BJP denied the allegations: “The JMM-Congress government is collapsing under its own corruption.”

The governor, meanwhile, referred the issue of Mr. Soren’s disqualification to the electoral commission, as required by Article 192 of the Constitution, after the BJP said that Mr. Soren had violated Article 9A of the Representation of the People Act when doing business with the government.

The law states that the governor is bound by the opinion of the EC, which functions as a quasi-judicial body in such matters.

This notice is now, so a decision is expected at any time. The Governor was out of town but returned this afternoon.

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said, “The Assembly should be dissolved and there should be elections in all 81 Assembly constituencies.”

The issue of disqualification has evolved rapidly over the past four days. The Election Commission concluded hearings on Monday. Mr. Soren’s team had concluded its closing arguments on August 12, following which the BJP filed its reply. On August 18, both parties submitted written submissions.

On Tuesday, the EC sent its advice to Governor Ramesh Bais, whose office received it the following day. BJP MP Dubey was among the first to tweet today that the EC letter has reached Raj Bhavan.

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