Ruling coalition to meet amid buzz of CM change - Hindustan Times

Ruling coalition to meet amid buzz of CM change

Jan 03, 2024 03:31 AM IST

Since August 14, 2022, ED has issued seven summons to chief minister Hemant Soren for questioning in connection.

Ranchi: Jharkhand's ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led coalition has con- vened a meeting of its legislators in Ranchi on Wednesday amid speculation about a change in leadership prompted by fears of impending action by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against chief minister Hemant Soren.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren

The meeting has been con- vened on January 3 at 4.30 pm in Ranchi, said JMM general secre- tary Vinod Pandey. "The legisla tors are expected to deliberate over the prevailing political envi ronment in the state. It would be premature to comment on the agenda of the meeting. It will become clear whether the legis- lators discuss having a new face or continuing with the old only in the meeting."

Since August 14, 2022, ED has issued seven summons to Soren for questioning in connection. with an alleged land grab and sand mining case in the state capital, Ranchi. There has been speculation about possible action against him as he has. ignored all the summons. ED is expected to move court seeking a warrant to question Soren.

On December 31, JMM law- maker Sarfaraz Ahmad resigned from the Gandey seat, triggering speculation that Soren might step down and name his wife, Kalpana Soren, as the chief min- ister. She will be fielded from the vacant seat, according to one theory doing the rounds. Jharkhand Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Babulal Mar- andi said any attempt by Soren to make wife CM would be ille- gal.

"Just when the chief minister knows that he is about to land in jail, he got a legislator resign and is said to be planning to make his wife chief minister. Since she (Kalpana Soren is from Odisha) she cannot contest from any seat reserved for a tribal. So a general seat MLA has been made to resign. If he makes his wife CM now, then that will be illegal because less than a year is left for a by-election to be held (before the term of the assembly ends in January 2025). The rules are clear and there is also a Maha- rashtra high court order on it. I urge the governor, whom we will also meet, to consult the attor- ney general and other jurists before he takes any decision," Marandi told reporters in Dumka.

But assembly officials claimed that the duration adds up to more than a year from the day the vacancy was created in the assembly on December 31.

"The five-year tenure of the assembly is counted from the day the first meeting of a new assembly is held. In the current assembly, the first meeting was organised on January 6, 2020. Accordingly, its tenure will be till January 5, 2025. The Gandey

legislator resigned on December 31; hence the tenure of assembly from the date of the creation of the vacancy will be one year and five days," a senior assembly offi- cial said on condition of ano- nymity. An expert agreed with this interpretation.

Meanwhile, chief minister Hemant Soren on Tuesday dis- missed the speculations and termed it as a complete imagina- tion of the BJP. "Possibility of my wife contesting in near future is a complete imagination of the BJP...and an attempt to build a false narrative," he said.

In response, BJP's state unit spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said, "The Hemant government is in panic mode as the judge- ment day' arrives and is looking for a way out. Whatever the chief minister says now, the fact remains that the most corrupt government in Jharkhand's his- tory is on its way out".

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