Chief minister Hemant Soren during his speech on Thursday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, Aug. 21: Chief minister Hemant Soren, jeered today on home turf in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called it the “sanskriti” of “Bhajapa (BJP) and Sangh Parivar” and “rape” of delicate Centre-state relations, pitch-forking the JMM into an ongoing BJP-Congress verbal war.
Hemant told the media he was heckled when he was speaking in the capacity of chief minister at Prabhat Tara Ground, the PM’s government programme venue.
“It was a rape of the systemÖ so the state and its people got humiliated,” he said, adding everything would be sorted out during elections.
“This type of incident is unwarranted and indecent and against the culture of democracy. The BJP has no control over its cadres,” he added.
The BJP denied the allegations. “The crowds were excited for PM, they wanted to hear him. Now, if one or two hoot, one can’t do anything,” said BJP state chief Ravindra Rai.
BJP leader and former chief minister Arjun Munda said: “The PM’s visit is being unnecessarily politicised.”
The JMM’s “humiliation” cascaded across party tiers in Ranchi.
The party called a news meet at its Bariatu headquarters around 3.30pm, where JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya asked the PM to “apologise”.
Bhattacharya said: “The respected PM should offer an apology for the indecent behaviour meted out towards our CM as well as his counterpart in Haryana (Bhupinder Singh Hooda) a few days back in a similar rally. If our demand is not met, we will boycott all Union ministers to Jharkhand from now.”
At 7pm, JMM workers burnt an effigy of Modi at Albert Ekka Chowk in the capital. At 8pm, the CM’s secretariat through state information and public relations department issued a release, saying that the chief minister was “extremely perturbed” over the “disturbance created during his speech”.
The Congress is upset too, since today’s incident comes all too soon after similar boos faced by Maharashtra and Haryana chief ministers Prithviraj Chavan and Hooda during events where Modi was the chief guest.
State Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat said it amounted to an insult to Jharkhand. “It is not the question of Hemant Soren or Bhupinder Singh Hooda. These incidents are an insult to states. The BJP should learn to discipline party workers.”
In Delhi, AICC general secretary Ambika Soni said Modi should immediately ask his partymen to desist from such acts and refused to accept BJP’s argument that the Congress needs to introspect on why the common man was unhappy with the state leadership.
Hooda on August 19 vowed not to take part in any more public functions where Modi would be present after he was hooted by the crowd during the foundation laying ceremony of a highway in Kaithal, Haryana.
Chavan, booed at a function on August 16, did not attend Modi’s event — bhoomi pujan of a Metro project — held in Nagpur this afternoon, immediately after the Ranchi show.