Jharkhand: ‘Resort politics’ come into play amid CM Soren’s disqualification buzz; ring-fencing of MLAs likely

Highlights

  • Jharkhand CM membership hangs in balance over a mining lease case
  • Ring-fencing of MLAs likely in a resort in a “friendly state”
  • Ruling coalition has 49 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly

Jharkhand: In the midst of intense speculation about the political fate of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, whose assembly membership hangs in balance over a mining lease case, the state’s ruling coalition members gathered for a third meeting on Saturday at 11 am at his home.

According to sources close to the ruling UPA, strategies were being chalked out at the meeting to ensure that there was no threat to the government.


Ring-fencing of MLAs by parking them in a resort in a “friendly state” such as West Bengal or Chhattisgarh is being considered as an option to avoid legislator poaching by the BJP.

Governor likely to send Soren’s disqualification order to EC

A decision on the future course of action can be taken once Governor Ramesh Bais communicates to them the Election Commission’s opinion on the possible disqualification of Soren as an MLA for allegedly violating electoral norms by extending himself a mining lease. Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais is likely to send the order of disqualification of Chief Minister Hemant Soren as an MLA to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday.

The ECI had recommended Soren’s disqualification as an MLA for violating electoral norms by extending a mining lease to himself, but there has been no official confirmation yet.

BJP is petitioner in the case

The BJP, the petitioner in the case, 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”.

Also Read | Jharkhand crisis: Guv to take call on EC’s view on disqualification of CM Soren as MLA

How numbers stack up in Jharkhand assembly

The ruling coalition has 49 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly. The JMM, as the largest party, has 30 MLAs, the Congress 18 legislators, and the RJD one. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the House.

The coalition partners had on Thursday claimed that there was no threat to the government. The JMM had exuded confidence that Soren will remain as the chief minister till 2024. The party also said it will move the Supreme Court if Soren is disqualified as an MLA.

Also Read | ‘Hai Taiyaar Hum’: Jharkhand CM tweets as uncertainty prevails over his chief ministership

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