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Ready to face electorate, says Hemant Soren

CM: You can purchase constitutional bodies but how can you purchase public support?
Hemant Soren in Ranchi on Thursday.
Hemant Soren in Ranchi on Thursday.
PTI picture

Animesh Bisoee   |   Jamshedpur   |   Published 26.08.22, 01:33 AM

Media and BJP claims on Thursday that Hemant Soren was set to be disqualified from the Assembly brought a defiant response from the Jharkhand chief minister, who indicated he was ready to face the electorate.

“You can purchase constitutional bodies but how can you purchase public support?” Soren tweeted, appearing to allege a political use of the poll panel — a charge that adds to the longstanding accusations about the misuse of central investigative agencies to target Opposition politicians.


Media reports and BJP parliamentarian Nishikant Dubey had claimed the Election Commission had recommended the JMM chief minister’s disqualification from the Assembly to governor Ramesh Bais, who had referred to the panel a BJP “office of profit” complaint against Soren.

Bais, who arrived from Delhi in the afternoon, told reporters at the Ranchi airport: “I don’t know anything as of now about any (EC) report. I had gone to AIIMS for treatment; I can only say anything after I reach the Raj Bhavan.”

Earlier, around noon, the chief minister’s office had said it hadn’t received any communication from the EC or the governor.

“It apparently seems that BJP leaders including a BJP MP and his puppet journalists have themselves drafted the ECI report, which is otherwise a sealed cover report,” the CMO tweeted.

It alleged “blatant misuse of constitutional authorities and public agencies and its complete takeover by BJP”.

The BJP complaint against the chief minister, who also holds the mining portfolio, hinges on the renewal last year of a mining lease in Soren’s name.

Nishikant Dubey, BJP leader and MP from Godda, had tweeted that the poll panel letter had reached the governor and that journalists had told him about Soren’s impending disqualification from the Assembly.

Unlike issues of defection where the Speaker has supreme authority, the poll panel is the final arbiter on complaints of office of profit, and the governor can disqualify an MLA on its recommendation. Disqualification would not cost Soren his chair as long as he gets re-elected within six months.

JMM Rajmahal MP Vijay Hansda, considered close to Soren, told reporters the party was “open to seeking legal recourse” if the poll panel took an adverse decision.

JMM central general secretary and spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya urged the Election Commission to lodge a criminal case against Dubey.

“The governor does not know about the ECI sealed report but the BJP MP knows the content of the letter,” he said.

“The ECI is a quasi-judicial body and it should initiate criminal proceedings against the MP for breach of official documents. It seems the BJP drafted the content of the ECI letter.”

The JMM has 30 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly, while allies Congress and RJD have 17 and 1, respectively. The BJP has 26 MLAs.

Sources close to Soren said that preparations had already begun for by-elections in Barhait, Soren’s constituency.

The campaign will be based on recent government decisions to increase Anganwadi posts and remunerations, recruit teachers and para-teachers, give an old-age pension, and restore the 20-day compensatory leave for police that had cops celebrating outside the chief minister’s residence on Thursday.

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