Ranchi, June 8: Do Jharkhand MLAs sport a price tag every time Rajya Sabha polls are due in the state?
Officially, the MLAs stoutly deny the allegation, though privately they agree that some among them might be selling themselves for hefty considerations.
“It is unfair to say that we are on sale every Rajya Sabha poll season. Others might be putting themselves up for sale, but not us,” said senior JMM legislator Simon Marandi.
In the same breath, he admitted that he was not aware of the credentials of Kanwar Deep Singh, chairman of the Alchemist Group, whom his party along with the Ajsu had decided to foist for one of the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand.
Two Rajya Sabha seats have fallen vacant from Jharkhand. While Hemant Soren, son of the JMM chief Shibu Soren, quit his Rajya Sabha seat earlier this year soon after being elected MLA from Dumka, Dheeraj Sahu’s tenure ended on May 30.
Former HRD minister and senior JMM leader, Hemlal Murmu, too said he was unable to understand the wheeling dealing that had led to the nomination of the business tycoon by JMM.
“Earlier it was decided that a local candidate should be given a ticket for the Rajya Sabha and I had even signed the nomination papers in advance. But Singh’s name came as a surprise for me too,” conceded Murmu.
Murmu told The Telegraph he was now in his constituency in Santhal Pargana and would decide later whether to come to Ranchi on the day of voting.
Asked if MLAs of the state could be bought, Murmu said, “All parties behave in the same manner in the Rajya Sabha poll season. Let’s see what happens by June 17,” thereby sidestepping the query.
BJP legislator C.P. Singh, who was the Assembly speaker and under whose aegis the polls would be held on June 17, strongly felt that it was not fair to equate all.
“There might be some legislators who may vote for a candidate for some consideration. But the same charge cannot be levelled against all legislators,” asserted Singh.
“There is no way you can prove underhand deals. Regarding the more important question about outsiders being given Rajya Sabha tickets, a legislation should be passed to ensure that only a permanent resident of a concerned state should be given a ticket to contest the Rajya Sabha elections for the state,” added Singh.
However, CPI(ML) MLA, Vinod Singh, who has decided to stay away from the Rajya Sabha polls to register his party’s protest against the corruption, reminded legislators that they were accountable to the people.