In a high-pitched drama hours before the Rajya Sabha polls in Jharkhand on Saturday, police arrested Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislator from Bishunpur, Chamra Linda, from a hospital in Ranchi.
In a late night raid, police forces swooped down on the hospital premises on Old HB Road to arrest the legislator. Linda, who is an accused in a 2013 case related to demonstrating in front of the state assembly and for preventing government officials from performing their duties, is being treated for diabetes.
After procuring a warrant on Friday, police reached the hospital to arrest Linda in the presence of Congress and JMM party workers who assembled to protest against their move. Police officers are camping at the hospital awaiting Linda’s discharge.
Given the importance of the legislator’s vote in the crucial Rajya Sabha elections, the JMM will approach the Supreme Court to seek bail to allow him to vote on Saturday.
“The party would file bail petition before the Supreme Court today itself,” said JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya. “It’s total anarchy. The ruling party is adopting all illegal and immoral methods to secure a win for its second candidate.”
The biennial Rajya Sabha polls for two seats in Jharkhand is to be held on June 11 between 9am and 4pm.
The JMM has fielded Basant Soren, the younger son of JMM supremo Sibu Soren, and has the support of Congress’ seven MLAs, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik’s two MLAs, and two legislators of Left parties. If all goes as planned, the JMM hopes to secure 30 votes, two more than the 28 required to win.
Incidentally, the state administration also had procured arrest warrants against two Congress legislators — Barkagaon MLA Nirmala Devi and Panki MLA Devendra Singh. On Friday, a Congress delegation led by state chief Sukhdev Bhagat met chief electoral officer L Khiangate, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of falsely implicating legislators to prevent them from voting.
Three candidates are vying for the two Rajya Sabha seats in the state. Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is expected to win one of the seats as the National Democratic Alliance has the numbers, but his party colleague Mahesh Poddar, who is up against Basant Soren, is seven short of the golden number.
Congress on Friday issued a whip to its seven legislators to vote for the JMM candidate.