'Disqualification' of Hemant Soren as MLA: Jharkhand Governor likely to take call on Friday
Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais may take a call Friday on the Election Commission's view on disqualification of Chief Minister Hemant Soren as an MLA, amid the rapidly changing political scenario in the state, Raj Bhavan sources said.
The EC is believed to have told the governor that Soren should be "disqualified" as a legislator for violating electoral norms, they said.
However, the Raj Bhavan has officially not confirmed the development.
The ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), as part of the UPA alliance, exuded confidence that Soren will remain as the chief minister till 2024.
The party also said it will move the Supreme Court if Soren is disqualified as an MLA.
Bais had told reporters that he would be in a position to comment on the issue once he took stock of developments.
"I was in AIIMS, Delhi for two days. I will be in a position to tell about any such decision when I reach Raj Bhavan," he had said after arriving here on Thursday.
The Election Commission sent its opinion to Bais on August 26 on a plea seeking that Soren be disqualified as an MLA for violating electoral norms by extending a mining lease to himself.
The opinion was sent to the Jharkhand Raj Bhavan in a sealed cover.
The BJP, the petitioner in the case, has sought Soren's disqualification for violating Section 9(A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which deals with disqualification for government contracts.
The clause states that "a person shall be disqualified if, and for so long as, there subsists a contract entered into by him in the course of his trade or business with the appropriate government for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any works undertaken by, that government".
The issue was referred to the governor and by him to the EC, 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 .
BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had on Thursday claimed that "the Election Commission letter has reached the governor I had announced that it will be done within August".
His comment attracted objections from the chief minister's secretariat, the JMM and the Congress.
Soren has alleged "blatant misuse of constitutional authorities and public agencies", after reports claimed that the Election Commission recommended his "disqualification" as an MLA in the mining lease case.
Soren's office had on Thursday said no communication in this regard has been received by the Chief Minister's Office from either the Election Commission or Governor Ramesh Bais .
"It seems that BJP leaders, including a BJP MP, and his puppet journalists have themselves drafted the EC report, which is otherwise always given in a sealed cover," Soren said in a statement issued by his secretariat.
"This blatant misuse of constitutional authorities and public agencies and its complete takeover by BJP HQ in Deendayal Upadhyay Marg in this shameful manner is unseen in Indian democracy," he said.
The UPA alliance has 49 MLAs in the 81-member assembly.
Within the United Progressive Alliance, JMM as the largest party has 30 MLAs, the Congress 18 legislators, and the RJD one. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the House.
The coalition partners, meanwhile, claimed that there was no threat to the government.