J’khand Governor Flies to Delhi Amid Suspense Over CM’s Continuation as MLA

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Amid confusion over continuation of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren as an MLA, Governor Ramesh Bais on Friday went to Delhi, a day after ruling UPA MLAs urged him to clear the air over the EC’s recommendation on the matter. The governor’s Delhi visit has triggered further speculations as Bais, during his meeting with a UPA delegation on Thursday, said that he will clear all doubts soon.

Raj Bhavan sources, however, said it was a ‘personal visit’ for a medical check-up. Following a petition by the BJP seeking Soren’s disqualification from the Assembly in an office of profit case, the Election Commission (EC) sent its decision to the state Governor on August 25, sparking a political crisis in the state.

Though the EC’s decision has not yet been made official, there is a buzz that the poll panel has recommended the chief minister’s disqualification as an MLA. In a joint statement on August 28, UPA constituents had accused Bais of encouraging political horse-trading by “deliberately delaying” announcing the decision.

Soren’s party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) believes that the BJP may make a serious attempt to poach MLAs from the party and also from the ally Congress in a bid to topple the government in a manner similar to Maharashtra. To ringfence the legislators in a safe haven, as many as 32 MLAs of the ruling coalition were on August 30 taken to a resort in Raipur, the capital of Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh. Four of them, however, returned to take part in a cabinet meeting held on Thursday, in which it was decided that a special session of the Jharkhand Assembly will be convened on September 5.

The UPA asserted that disqualification of the CM as an aMLA will not affect the government, as the ruling JMM-Congress-RJD coalition enjoys an absolute majority in the 81-member House. The JMM, the largest party, has 30 MLAs, the Congress 18 legislators, and the RJD one. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the House.

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