Thursday, February 2, 2023

Soren wins confidence vote as BJP MLAs walkout

The Hemant Soren government in Jharkhand on Monday won the confidence vote in the Assembly by a comfortable margin, helping the politically-savvy tribal leader consolidate his hold over the state despite fears that his MLAs would be poached to bring down the JMM-led regime.
As many as 48 MLAs voted in favour of the confidence motion in the 81-member Assembly — 29 of the JMM, 15 of the Congress, one each of RJD, NCP and CPIML(L) and an Independent – even as the opposition BJP-led NDA walked out of the House.
Speaking during the special session, Soren said the need for the trust vote was felt as the BJP was “attempting to destabilise democratically elected governments” in non-BJP-ruled states, including Jharkhand.
“Uncertainty had been prevailing in the state since August 25 after the media reported that the ECI has sent its recommendation to governor (over BJP’s petition seeking Soren’s disqualification as MLA in an office-of-profit case). But the governor is still silent.
“An UPA delegation met him urging him to clear the air. He assured them that there will be clarity in two-three days. Thereafter, he went to Delhi through the backdoor,” the CM claimed.
Soren, who still faces the threat of disqualification on the basis of the purported EC advisory to the Governor, had ring-fenced his MLAs by flying them down to neighbouring Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh.
The worried leader, however, decided to face up to his challenges as the uncertainty over the crisis prolonged, by coming up with the vote of confidence proposal and flying in his legislators Sunday night.
Prof Alok Gupta, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Central University, Jharkhand, said, “The move by Soren’s government has sent a clear message to the people … that the parties which have formed the government are together and any endeavour towards bringing down the government by manipulating the numbers is not in the fitness of things.”
Analysts felt that though passage of the motion would help him consolidate politically, especially as he could now embark on a public outreach programme building on Monday’s victory. The failure of the governor to put him on the mat in the office-of-profit case, too, is seen as concession that the political fall-out of removing a popularly elected tribal chief minister could be negative for the BJP.
The Jharkhand leader alleged that the saffron party was trying to create a “civil war-like situation in country by fuelling riots to win elections”. His government faced ‘bandh’ and protests on Monday over the alleged rape and murder of two girls in Dumka in the sensitive Santhal Parganas region.
“The manner in which obstacles are being presented before our government is not a secret. Three of our MLAs are in Bengal. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tried to purchase Jharkhand MLAs,” said Soren. Three Congress MLAs were arrested in neighbouring Bengal carrying huge amounts of cash, which it is claimed was being carted to “buy” other MLAs into a revolt.
Taking a dig at the BJP, Soren said that the party, after having made a tribal woman the president of the country, is now trying to snatch power from a tribal CM. “People purchase commodities in market, but the BJP buys legislators,” he alleged, adding that the UPA will give the BJP-led NDA a befitting reply in 2024 Lok Sabha elections
JMM MLA Sudivya Kumar, during the session, raised the slogan ‘Hemant hai to viswas hai’ (In Hemant we trust).
In a jibe at the Soren-led government, Leader of Opposition Babulal Marandi, however, pointed out, “Neither the governor nor the opposition had asked for the trust vote exercise.
“The chief minister tabled the motion as he wanted to show the country that the MLAs, on whom he himself has no trust, are with his government.
“The entire country got to see the way MLAs were taken to Raipur in a chartered flight. After their arrival in Ranchi, they were not allowed to stay at their residences and had to put up in a circuit house. Today morning, too, they were packed in a bus and brought to the Assembly. This is enough proof that Soren has no trust in his MLAs,” Marandi asserted.

SourcePTI
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