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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 April 2024

Chaos in Rajya Sabha: Congress, other opposition parties stage walkout amidst Jharkhand governance crisis

Leader of the Opposition in the House and Congress president Mallikharjun Kharge drew parallels with the happenings in neighbouring Bihar just a week back

PTI New Delhi Published 02.02.24, 02:09 PM
Leader of the Opposition in the House and Congress president Mallikharjun Kharge

Leader of the Opposition in the House and Congress president Mallikharjun Kharge File photo

Opposition parties led by the Congress on Friday walked out from the Rajya Sabha over the Jharkhand governor not making interim arrangements for governance in the state after JMM leader Hemant Soren resigned as chief minister.

Leader of the Opposition in the House and Congress president Mallikharjun Kharge drew parallels with the happenings in neighbouring Bihar just a week back when Nitish Kumar had resigned as chief minister, his resignation being immediately accepted, he being asked to continue till a new government was formed and again being sworn-in as the chief minister, all in a matter of 12 hours.

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But in Jharkhand, when Soren resigned on Wednesday, no interim arrangement was made, he said.

After Soren's resignation, the name of his successor with signatures of 43 supporting MLAs in a 81-member assembly was given, Kharge said and added that four other MLAs, who were supporting such a transfer, were outside the state and could not give their signatures.

"He (Governor C P Radhakrishnan) did not make any arrangement (after Soren resigned)," he said.

The Constitution provides for a government to be in place in the event of a resignation of a chief minister and the governor makes interim arrangements of allowing the resigning chief minister or some other person to continue till alternative arrangements are made, Kharge said.

The governor calls on the party showing support of majority MLAs to form government and seeks a vote of confidence, he said.

The Congress leader said after a wait of nearly 20 hours, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's (JMM) newly elected leader Champai Soren got an invite to meet the governor but despite the letters of support, he was not invited to form government. It is only today (on Friday) that the new chief minister is taking oath, he said.

"Please, how the Constitution is being shredded to pieces," he said and went on to talk of what happened in Bihar after JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar resigned as chief minister.

"Why did such a thing (as had happened in Bihar) not happen in Jharkhand?" Kharge asked. If resignation, acceptance of letters of support and swearing-in can happen in 12 hours in Bihar, why not in Jharkhand, he asked.

"This is shameful," he said.

The treasury benches protested Kharge's statement with Leader of the House and Union Minister Piyush Goyal saying that Jharkhand had witnessed a huge land scam that had led to Soren's resignation.

"Such large-scale corruption has been established... how the chief minister did the land scam. Despite this, the Congress is defending that chief minister. There is no clarification on the conduct of that chief minister. It is not talking about corruption. This only re-establishes that corruption is in the DNA of the Congress. Congress accepts corruption," he said.

Goyal said the conduct of the governor cannot be discussed in the House.

Defending the governor's actions, he said the governor has to satisfy himself of the support before calling on anyone to form the government.

However, the Congress and other opposition parties insisted on the issue of why the state went headless and no interim arrangement was made by asking either Soren to continue or someone else being made the caretaker chief minister till a government was formed.

They then walked out of the House.

K Keshava Rao of the BRS said that the Constitution says there has to be a government at all times. "Government has to be headed by a chief minister, whether the chief minister is that man or this man, we are not bothered," he said. "This country has to run through the Constitution," Rao said.

As a counter, the treasury benches continued to raise the issue of a purported statement by D K Suresh, Congress MP and brother of Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar, that proposed the idea of separate nationhood for southern states as they were not getting their dues because of taxes being collected from them being distributed in the north.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while the Congress opposed the discussion on Suresh's statement on technical grounds that the conduct of a MP of the Lok Sabha cannot be discussed in the Rajya Sabha, but is raising the conduct of the governor "who knows his position." "Walk out is in favour of corruption," she said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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