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Rant against ‘blind king’

Ranchi, May 6: Governor Syed Ahmed today approved chief minister Hemant Soren’s recommendation to dismiss Simon Marandi from his Cabinet, prompting the disgruntled JMM MLA to liken his mentor, Shibu Soren, to Dhritarashtra, the blind king who could see no fault in his son.

With this, the effective state Cabinet strength is 10, two less than the mandatory 12, as former Congressman and rural development minister Chandra Shekhar Dubey earlier left the Cabinet on a sour note to join TMC.

But Simon, who no longer holds Cabinet portfolios of rural works, NREP (special division) and food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, stays an MLA till he joins another party, which means the state Assembly still has 79 members.

Yet, the final figure of the Hemant-led coalition government and state Assembly will emerge after May 16 because this time, as many as 10 sitting MLAs are aspiring MPs, six part of the ruling coalition.

So far, three MLAs from the ruling coalition have resigned from the Assembly and their respective parties to contest Lok Sabha polls — Dubey, and JMM-turned-BJP leaders Hemlal Murmu and Bidyut Baran Mahto.

The JMM also served Simon a showcause today, asking him to justify within 10 days why disciplinary action should not be initiated against him.

The showcause charged Simon with “anti-party remarks”, particularly during the Rajmahal campaign.

Rajmahal MP in 1989 and 1991, Simon wanted a ticket for his son Dinesh. But, Hemant bypassed Dinesh for former Youth Congress leader Vijay Hansda, deepening the rift between the veteran and the JMM.

Part of JMM’s old guard, Simon had resented the churn within the party since Hemant became chief minister last July while ailing Shibu Soren happily delegated more responsibilities to his son.

Simon’s case mirrors Dubey, who made unsavoury comments against the ruling combine after his aim to make his son Ajay chairman of Jharkhand State Child Rights Protection Commission was thwarted. But Dubey made a clean break, quitting the Congress and Assembly to join the TMC and fight Lok Sabha polls from Dhanbad.

Simon is now mulling options. Insiders said he would prefer expulsion from the JMM, which would help him save his Assembly membership. “Let the JMM terminate my party membership, then I will be free to decide on my future,” he told The Telegraph.

“JMM has no internal democracy but I will oppose its wrong policies. Guruji is a Dhritarashtra safeguarding the interests of his son and daughter-in-law by hook or by crook.”