Ranchi, Oct. 14: Deputy chief minister Hemant Soren declined to accompany chief minister Arjun Munda to Canada and US at the eleventh hour, sparking speculation that all is not well in the ruling coalition.
Munda left for New Delhi today to embark on his six-day business trip tomorrow along with senior bureaucrats and representatives of various industrial houses. Though both the chief minister and his deputy vehemently denied any differences, sources in the JMM said Hemant dropped the plan under pressure from the party leadership.
“This abroad trip to invite investments is a futile exercise as the state is not prepared for it. We are yet to put in place foolproof industrial and rehabilitation policies,” said JMM organisational secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya.
Hemant, who was in Delhi to attend the state finance ministers’ empowered committee meeting, however, denied he had differences with Munda.
“I had already informed the chief minister about my plan. I have to visit Dumka and stay there on October 17 to attend an army recruitment drive, being held for Santhal Pargana at my request,” he told The Telegraph.
“Moreover, the trip concerns affairs of the industry department. There’s no justification for my presence there. The chief minister has also cut short his visit and will be back on October 20 instead of October 24,” he pointed out.
Notably, both the BJP and JMM had betrayed tension in recent days over providing grants to 592 unaided madarsas. But Hemant maintained that the state government would take a policy decision in this regard soon.
“The chief minister has promised to resolved the issue and placed it at the cabinet meeting. Everything will be decided according to rules. So, the state government is running smoothly,” he added.
On his sister-in-law and Jama MLA Sita Soren’s rebellion, Hemant said she should air her grievances at the party forum.
Sita, upset for a long time for not getting any position in the present dispensation, has shot off a letter to the President, seeking probe into illegal mining and levelling charges that the BJP-led government in Jharkhand was neck deep in corruption.
Munda stressed that not much should be read into Hemant’s last-minute decision to drop out of the trip. “It is because of his personal engagements in his Assembly constituency,” he said.