Four Cong MLAs back Soren, put own party ministers in dock - Hindustan Times
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Four Cong MLAs back Soren, put own party ministers in dock

By, Ranchi
Apr 07, 2022 10:08 PM IST

Four of the Congress’s 16 legislators in Jharkhand on Thursday held a meeting and expressed their support for chief minister Hemant Soren while questioning the performance of four ministers from their own party.

Four of the Congress’s 16 legislators in Jharkhand on Thursday held a meeting and expressed their support for chief minister Hemant Soren while questioning the performance of four ministers from their own party.

Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, former AICC in-charge RPN Singh, finance minister Rameshwar Oraon and other leaders in Ranchi in November 2019. (HT Archives)
Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, former AICC in-charge RPN Singh, finance minister Rameshwar Oraon and other leaders in Ranchi in November 2019. (HT Archives)

Irfan Ansari, one of the four legislators, claimed five other Congress legislators were aligned with them and they together would be meeting senior party leader Rahul Gandhi soon and put forth their grievances.

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The four Congress ministers in the JMM-led coalition government in Jharkhand are finance minister Rameshwar Oraon, rural development minister Almgir Alam, health minister Banna Gupta and agriculture minister Badal Patralekh.

“We had contested the 2019 assembly polls under the leadership of Hemant Soren (JMM working president) and we can’t deny his contribution in our victory. He is our leader and does all our work. The question is what do our ministers do. Get a survey done about their performance. People are not happy. Youngsters should get an opportunity,” Ansari, flanked by other three legislators, Umashankar Akela, Rajesh Kacchap and Naman Bixel Kongadi, told reporters.

“We are not only four. Five other MLAs are also with us and we would soon be meeting our leader Rahul Gandhi and apprise him about our grievances,” he said.

Ansari, who is a doctor by profession, has been one of the most vocal MLAs in the Congress and has often been hitting out at party ministers.

Last year, names of Ansari, Akela and Kongadi had figured in the group of MLAs who had allegedly met three persons arrested in Ranchi for allegedly trying to topple the Hemant Soren government.

Friday’s development comes barely a week after All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Jharkhand affairs, Avinash Pande, directed party legislators not to meet the chief minister as they have repeatedly been complaining about their work not being done and the Congress legislators not getting their due.

Soren is leading a coalition government of JMM, Congress and RJD. The relationship between the two lead partners in the alliance, JMM and the Congress, have been strained over a host of issues, including the latter’s demand for a common minimum programme (CMP) and a coordination committee.

Situation has worsened after former AICC in-chargre RPN Singh joined the BJP.

Pande has been more assertive. He handed over a charter of demands on March 7 to the chief minister, including the CMP and coordination committee. However, the CM is yet to respond.

A section in Congress leaders, however, view Friday’s development as a challenge to Pande.

“More than these MLAs speaking against the ministers, what needs to be watched out is that they are supporting the chief minister. The Congress legislature party is a brittle group and it’s easy for them to get swayed towards the JMM ideologically than BJP,” a senior party leader said.

Jharkhand Congress president Rajesh Thakur, however, said there was nothing unusual in Congress legislators holding a meeting. “They did not meet legislators of other party. However, if they have grievances, they could have raised them on the party forum instead of speaking out in public. We had arranged meeting of all the legislators with our leader Rahul Gandhi in February on their request. If they want to have another meeting, we will again arrange it,” he said.

How the numbers stack up

The pre-poll alliance of JMM-Congress-RJD had won a clear victory, winning 47 seats in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly in December 2019 assembly polls against the required simple majority of 41 to form the government. While JMM is the lead partner with 30 MLAs, Congress has 16 legislators and RJD one.

The main opposition BJP had won 25 seats in 2019.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vishal Kant works as an Assistant Editor with Hindustan Times. He tracks developments in Aam Aadmi Party and Delhi government. Vishal has spent about a decade covering the city politics and governance, besides writing on Delhi’s civic issues, urban transport and infrastructure.

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