Saturday, March 25, 2023

Jharkhand crisis: UPA MLAs leave Ranchi for Raipur

The MLAs of the ruling UPA coalition in Jharkhand on Tuesday left Ranchi for neighbouring Chhattisgarh to stave off the BJP’s possible poaching attempt during the ongoing political crisis in the state.
A chartered flight carrying about 40 MLAs took off from the Ranchi airport shortly after 4.30 pm towards Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, sources said.
The ruling coalition has 49 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly.
“This is not a surprising move. It happens in politics. We are ready to face any situation,” Chief Minister Hemant Soren told reporters after coming out of the airport. The legislators had started from Soren’s residence in two buses and Soren himself was on the front seat of one of them. He came out of the Birsa Munda Airport staying inside for some time.
A Congress legislator, on condition of anonymity, said that they will be shifted to a resort in Raipur in Chhattisgarh, a state with a non-BJP government.
Soren’s JMM believes that the BJP may make a serious attempt to poach MLAs from it and from the Congress in a bid to topple the government in a manner “similar to Maharashtra” and there is a need to ringfence the legislators in a “safe haven.”
Following a petition by the BJP seeking Soren’s disqualification from the Assembly in an office of profit case, the Election Commission sent its decision to state Governor Ramesh Bais on August 25. Though the EC’s decision has not yet been made official, there is a buzz that the poll panel has recommended the chief minister’s disqualification as an MLA. The Raj Bhavan has not announced anything on this matter as yet. The UPA legislators have requested the governor to clear the confusion saying they were ready to face any situation.
In a joint statement on August 28, UPA constituents – the JMM, Congress and the RJD – had on On August 28, had accused the governor of encouraging political horse-trading by “deliberately delaying” announcing a decision on the CM’s membership of the legislature.
There were also speculations earlier on August 27 that the UPA legislators would go to an undisclosed destination in West Bengal or Chhattisgarh as the legislators entered the chief minister’s residence for a meeting with luggage.
Later on that day, they left Ranchi in three buses for Latratu, near the border with Chhattisgarh, only to return to the state capital by the evening.
A meeting of the Jharkhand cabinet is scheduled on September 1 at 4 pm.
The JMM, the largest party, has 30 MLAs, the Congress 18 legislators, and the RJD one. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the House.


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