After high drama over a sealed envelope in Jharkhand, sources have said the Election Commission, while holding Chief Minister Hemant Soren guilty in the illegal mining case, has recommended only “disqualification”.
This means that after the Governor notifies the disqualification order on a gazette, Soren will have to resign. His council of ministers will also resign with him. However, he can get re-elected in a by-election held by the Election Commission within six months.
Saryu Roy, a senior leader in Jharkhand, has also said that his “very reliable sources” have informed him that the EC has declared Soren not fit for the post of an MLA. “According to highly reliable sources, the Election Commission has disqualified @HemantSorenJMM from the post of MLA. As soon as the notification of disqualification leaves the Raj Bhavan, he will have to resign or get a stay order on this notification from the Honorable Court,” he tweeted in Hindi.
The EC has opined Soren attracts disqualification for awarding a government contract to himself, sources said. A complaint was lodged against Soren for awarding a mining lease to himself.
Governor Ramesh Bais is examining EC opinion on Soren’s disqualification and will notify it soon, the sources said, adding that Soren is not barred from contesting elections. Soren is reportedly in consultation with constitutional experts on the future course of action.
The Jharkhand Chief Minister has called a meeting of the UPA today at his residence in Ranchi after the Governor’s order. “We’ve (Jharkhand Congress MLAs) been instructed, keeping in mind the recent political developments and speculations in Jharkhand, to be available in Ranchi. We’ve (UPA MLAs) been called at 11 am tomorrow for another meeting at CM’s residence,” news agency PTI had quoted Jharkhand Congress MLA Purnima Niraj Singh.
Governor Bais had yesterday told reporters that he would be in a position to comment on the issue once he took stock of developments. “I was in AIIMS, Delhi for two days. I will be in a position to tell about any such decision when I reach Raj Bhavan,” he had said on Thursday.
The ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), as part of the UPA alliance, says it’s confident that Soren will remain as the Chief Minister till 2024.
Soren had yesterday said he hasn’t yet received any communication while he has seen several media reports and BJP’s statements about the Election Commission “recommending his disqualification as an MLA”. “It seems that BJP leaders, including a BJP MP, and his puppet journalists have themselves drafted the EC report, which is otherwise always given in a sealed cover,” Soren said in a statement issued by his secretariat.
The BJP, which accused Soren of extending a mining lease to himself, has already called for fresh elections and asked the Chief Minister to resign “on moral grounds”. “Hemant Soren should head towards mid-term polls, on moral grounds,” BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has said, “Assembly should be dissolved and there should be elections in all 81 assembly constituencies. BJP has been demanding this.”
In the 82-member assembly, the JMM (30) and Congress (17) have 47 members — just above the majority mark — besides support from some others. The BJP is the main Opposition with 25 members.
With inputs from NDTV