UPA MLAs call upon governor to clear air on Hemant Soren
It was business as usual for most ministers in Jharkhand on Monday even as ruling UPA MLAs called upon the governor to clear the air on Election Commission’s decision pertaining to the disqualification of chief minister Hemant Soren as MLA.
Most of the cabinet ministers attended their offices on Monday, holding meetings with departmental secretaries after a gap of nearly four days. A group of 11 MLAs, including senior JMM leader and transport minister Champai Soren, health minister and Congress leader Banna Gupta and RJD leader and labour minister Satyanand Bhokta, on Sunday evening urged the governor, through the media, to make the decision pertaining to Soren’s disqualification public at the earliest.
“It is a pre-planned conspiracy to destabilise the Jharkhand government. We want to know from the governor that if the Election Commission has sent something, then it should be made public. We have a full majority. If the BJP has the courage, then impose Article 365 and dislodge the state government. The people of the state are disturbed by all this. The entire system has been stalled,” said Banna Gupta.
Article 365 of the Constitution imposes the President’s rule on a state that fails to comply with the directions given by the Union government.
“We will fight and will never relent. Governor Ramesh Bais has to make the decision (pertaining to the disqualification of CM Soren as MLA) public at the earliest and we will give a reply within 24 hours. We are not afraid. We have a number above 50,” added Gupta.
In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, the Soren-led JMM is the largest party with 30 MLAs. The Congress has 18 legislators, while the RJD has one. They also enjoy the support of CPML MLA Vinod Singh. The main Opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the House.
Champai Soren, who was also present at the media conference on Sunday, said: “A political environment has been created in the name of Representation of the People’s Act to cancel the membership of chief minister Hemant Soren in the House. The letter from EC is already with the governor but he is not making a statement on it. It is nothing but a harassment of the people of the state that elected a popular government. They are misusing constitutional institutions and encouraging horse trading. What is the legal advice that the governor is not able to take? This is an insult to democracy and the people.”
Governor Ramesh Bais had sent the memorandum of BJP, accusing Hemant Soren of allocating a mining lease to himself while holding portfolio of mines minister to the EC seeking his disqualification under Section 9 (A) of the Representation of People’s Act, as Article 192 of the Constitution states that on rulings regarding an MLA's disqualification, the question shall be referred to the governor who in turn "shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion”.
It was reported that on Thursday EC had sent its recommendation of disqualification of Hemant Soren to the Governor. However, no official statement has come from Raj Bhawan till Monday.
Raj Bhawan sources had on Saturday said that the Governor would send its order to the Election Commission for a formal issue of notification for disqualification of the chief minister. But the same sources claimed on Monday that no order had been sent from the Governor on Monday too.