Soren wins ‘trust vote’ amid Jharkhand turmoil
Amidst the prevailing stalemate over continuation of chief minister Hemant Soren as an MLA, the Jharkhand assembly on Monday passed the confidence motion tabled by the ruling coalition.
Amidst the prevailing stalemate over continuation of chief minister Hemant Soren as an MLA, the Jharkhand assembly on Monday passed the confidence motion tabled by the ruling coalition even as the main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) staged a walkout just ahead of the voting.
Of the 78 members of the 82 member house (including one nominated member), who could vote, 48 MLAs voted in favour of the government. The Speaker of the house does not vote, unless there is a tie. Three suspended Congress MLA could not attend the session as a West Bengal court asked them not to leave Kolkata after they were caught carrying ₹49 lakh in their car.
In all 29 MLAs from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), 15 from Congress, and one each from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), NCP, and CPI-ML and the sole nominated member, representing the Anglo Indian community, voted for the government.
Those who staged walkout included the BJP, its ally the AJSU and independent legislators Saryu Roy and Amit Yadav. Both Roy and Yadav won as BJP rebels in 2019 and the former was supporting the government until recently. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the house while the AJSU Party has two.
The one-day session was convened by the Soren-led government amidst the silence on part of Governor Ramesh Bais in an office-of-profit case against Soren that could lead to his disqualification. The Governor is yet to make public the Electon Commision of India’s opinion over the issue sent to Raj Bhawan on August 25. ECI, it is widely believed, recommended his disqualification as a member of the house. It is not clear why the Governor is yet to act on the poll body’s advice.
During the session that lasted for just around two hours, both the ruling alliance and the opposition hit out at each other. While the opposition questioned the rationale for the confidence motion, the treasury benches claimed it was important to show the people of the country the ruling alliance’s in the House despite “attempts by the BJP to destabilise a democratically elected government”.
“We want to show you through this (motion) that there is no threat to this government. And any kind of horse trading will not work. People are watching. Forget about the next assembly polls in (December) 2024; people will teach you lesson even in Lok Sabha polls (April-May 2024),” said Soren.
The chief minister also raised questions over the delay on part of the Governor in making public the ECI opinion on his membership.
“When our delegation went to meet the Governor, he said he has received the ECI opinion and he would tale a decision in 2-3 days. But the very next day, he left for Delhi. He should make the decision public -- or else a situation is being created for horse trading,” said Soren.
Governor Ramesh Bais went to New Delhi on Friday and is yet to return . People in his office said they do not know when he will return.
Soren, also the JMM working president alleged that the BJP was trying to create a “civil war-like situation in country by fuelling riots to win elections”.
“The manner in which obstacles are being presented before our Government is known to all. Three of our MLAs are in Bengal. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma indulged in `purchase’ of Jharkhand MLAs,” alleged Soren.
He also accused the BJP of double speak and said that while it claims to have made an Adivasi woman the President, it is trying to snatch power from a tribal CM.
“People purchase commodities in the market, but the BJP buys legislators,” he alleged, describing the BJP a party of ‘traders’ who try to tarnish image of the elected governments. He also took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi wondering how a PM busy fighting with states can develop the country.
The CM said the government will soon take a decision on OBC reservation and 1932-based domicile policy, as promised in the JMM’s 2019 manifesto.
BJP legislature party leader Babulal Marandi questioned the rationale for the confidence motion when the government already enjoys the majority.
“Neither the Governor nor the opposition or any court sought a vote of trust from the government. This shows that the chief minister does not have trust on his own MLAs.”
“The entire country saw how the MLAs were packed in a bus and taken to the airport and later to Raipur in a chartered flight. After their arrival to Ranchi, they were not allowed to stay at their residences but they were kept in the circuit house. Even today, they were brought in a bus to assembly and were taken in not from the gate which is meant for MLAs. This is enough to prove that the chief minister has no trust on UPA MLAs,” he added.
Jharkhand Congress president Rajesh Thakur said now it’s up to the Governor to break the stalemate. “We have shown today where the government stands in terms of its strength. Now it’s up to the Governor to tale a decision and let people know about it.”