Would attend Ram Temple inauguration if invited, says Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren - Hindustan Times
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Would attend Ram Temple inauguration if invited, says Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren

Dec 28, 2023 05:51 PM IST

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren also said that having a prime ministerial face for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections was not relevant for the INDIA block

RANCHI: Jharkhand chief minister and executive president of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Hemant Soren on Thursday said that he would attend the inauguration event of Ram Temple in Ayodhya if invited for the same. Addressing a press conference at his residence on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the JMM-Congress-RJD combine government, he also said that having a prime ministerial face for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections was not relevant for the INDIA block and added that he was in favour of doing away with electronic voting machines (EVMs) and getting back to ballot-based elections in the country.

Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (Image posted on X by Hemant Soren)
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren. (Image posted on X by Hemant Soren)

“I haven’t received invitation to date (for Ram Temple inauguration event). However, if I receive an invitation; I would try to go because I regularly visit religious places including temples and mosques,” Soren said.

Backing the recent statement of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Sharad Pawar that having a prime ministerial face for INDIA bloc was immaterial, the JMM leader said it was people who transform a leader into a ‘face’.

“In my view, in democracy it is people who transform anyone into a face. Even those who have become a face were elected by people. If you go through history, it is a recent phenomenon that we have started talking about having a face. It is immaterial,” said Soren, adding that seat sharing in the state was not an issue and it would be done in due course.

Soren’s statement came at a time when confusion prevails even within the INDIA bloc. While Pawar has dismissed the assertion of having a PM face to take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, two important stakeholders, Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Mamata Banerjee and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor Arvind Kejriwal, during the latest INDIA bloc meeting, had pitched for Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge for the PM face of INDIA front.

On a specific question over him not turning up before the directorate of enforcement (ED) despite the agency having served him six summons in the past few months, Soren said he was going by the rule of law.

“Isn’t the country run by rule of law? Doesn’t the ED also operate as per law. The state also functions as per law. Agar aap jinda hain, to aapko jinda dikhana bhi chahiye (If you are alive, you needs to show that as well). Do you think I am running away, or am I going abroad with bag and baggage? If allegations are levelled against politicians, constitutional institutions also have allegations against them. One can suppress such reports for some time, but you can’t bury the truth. As far as ED is concerned, the world is seeing their conduct,” said Soren.

Asked by reporters if he thinks ED has come into play to ensure he breaks away with the INDIA bloc, Soren said those who think so are committing a mistake.

“Those who think they can threaten and get something they desire they are committing a grave mistake. That is not going to work at least with me because we are a product of a movement. We are those who are not afraid of threats but could even offer our heads if some makes a request with love,” said Soren.

Asked whether he would never go back to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as he had been with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led coalition in the past, Soren said the question is unwarranted. “This is not relevant as opponents ought not to be enemies. That has been the beauty of our democracy. People often are amused to see this. But that has been the history, be it during the regimes of (former prime ministers) (AB) Vajpayee, (Jawaharlal) Nehru or Indira Gandhi. Opponents were never treated as enemies. It is only in the present time that a few people are trying to make the situation otherwise,” he said.

Amidst the ongoing debate over lacunae in conducting elections through EVMs, Soren said he was in favour of getting back to the ballot system for polling.

“This is an era of technology where several things are possible. If any food is put in front of us, it is difficult to say whether it was cooked by a human, or a robot. Most other countries have abandoned the EVM system. I am in favour of doing away with EVM and getting back to the ballot system,” said Soren.

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