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India

Jharkhand Political Crisis: All Eyes On Raj Bhavan As Governor Returns From Delhi

Bais, a day before leaving for the national capital on September 2, had assured ruling UPA MLAs of clearing the air over the Election Commission of India's recommendation on a petition seeking Soren's disqualification from the assembly in an office-of-profit case.

Jharkhand
A delegation of UPA alliance meets with Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais to submit a memorandum to clarify the situation in light of the report of the Election Commission, at Raj Bhawan, in Ranchi on Thursday, September 1, 2022. ( File Photo: ANI)

Ranchi: Amid the political crisis in Jharkhand over the threat to Chief Minister Hemant Soren of his disqualification as an MLA, Governor Ramesh Bais on Thursday returned to Ranchi after around a week-long stay in New Delhi.

Bais, a day before leaving for the national capital on September 2, had assured ruling UPA MLAs of clearing the air over the Election Commission of India’s recommendation on a petition seeking Soren’s disqualification from the assembly in an office-of-profit case.

“The governor has returned to Ranchi…so far he has not issued any order,” an official source in Raj Bhavan said.

The ECI has sent its decision to the governor on August 25, sparking a political crisis in the state.

Though the ECI’s decision has not yet been made official, there is a buzz that the poll panel has recommended disqualification of the chief minister as an MLA.

Earlier on Monday, the JMM-led coalition government in Jharkhand had won the confidence vote in the assembly by a comfortable margin, helping Soren consolidate his hold over the state despite fears that his MLAs would be poached to bring about a change of regime.

As many as 48 MLAs voted in favour of the confidence motion in the 81-member assembly — 29 of the JMM, 15 of the Congress, one each of RJD, NCP and CPI-ML (Liberation) and an Independent – even as the opposition BJP-led NDA walked out of the House.

Speaking during the special session, Soren had said that the need for the trust vote was felt as the BJP was “attempting to destabilise democratically elected governments” in non-BJP-ruled states, including Jharkhand.

“Uncertainty had been prevailing in the state since August 25 after the media reported that the ECI has sent its recommendation to governor (over the BJP’s petition seeking Soren’s disqualification as MLA in an office-of-profit case). But the governor is still silent.

“A UPA delegation met him urging him to clear the air. He assured them that there will be clarity in two-three days. Thereafter, he went to Delhi through the backdoor,” the CM had claimed.

Soren, who still faces the threat of disqualification on the basis of the purported ECI advisory to the governor, had ‘ring-fenced’ his MLAs by flying them to neighbouring Chhattisgarh, which is ruled by the Congress.

Earlier in a joint statement on August 28, UPA constituents had accused Bais of encouraging political horse-trading by “deliberately delaying” announcing the decision.

The UPA claims that disqualification of the CM as an MLA 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.