Soren mining lease: Political temperatures soar in Jharkhand

Ruling camp, opposition wait for EC opinion on disqualification plea

RANCHI: Political temperatures have risen in Jharkhand as the ruling JMM-Congress-RJD alliance and the opposition BJP keenly waits for Governor Ramesh Bais to return to the state and inform them about the Election Commission's opinion on a plea seeking Chief Minister Hemant Soren's disqualification as an MLA for allegedly violating electoral law.

The BJP, the petitioner in the case, has sought Soren's disqualification under section 9 A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 -- which deals with disqualification for government contracts -- for allegedly extending a mining lease to himself.

The opinion was sent to the Jharkhand Raj Bhavan in a sealed cover this morning, sources there said.

Bais is scheduled to reach Ranchi from Delhi sometime in the afternoon.
State Rural Development and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alamgir Alam ruled out any threat to the ruling coalition in the state and said “even in the probability of Soren, who is also the JMM executive president, being disqualified from Assembly in an office of profit case, there is no threat to the government”.

“It is a policy matter. Our government will continue. Hemant Soren continues to be our leader,” he said.

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, talking to PTI, said his party “wants a mid-term poll” in the state. “The Election Commission letter has reached the governor...I had announced that It will be done within August,” he tweeted earlier in the day.
The JMM has 30 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly, the Congress 17 legislators, and the RJD one. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the House.
JMM chief spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya told PTI,

“Attempts have been made to destabilise a democratically elected government ever since it came in power in December 2019 but all such evil designs of the BJP would be thwarted.”

Under Article 192 of the Constitution, if any question arises as to whether a member of a House of the Legislature of a state has become subject to any of the disqualifications, the question shall be referred to the governor whose decision shall be final.

“Before giving any decision on any such question, the Governor shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion,” the article states.

While dealing with such cases, the poll panel functions as a quasi-judicial body.
Earlier, on February 11, a BJP delegation, led by party vice president and former chief minister Raghubar Das and legislature party leader Babulal Marandi, had met the governor seeking Soren's removal as CM and disqualification under Section 9A of the Representation of People's Act 1952.

Next Story