UPA MLAs return to Ranchi for trust vote

BJP holds meet to devise strategy in Jharkhand Assembly

September 04, 2022 07:18 pm | Updated September 05, 2022 08:47 am IST - Patna

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) MLAs arrive at Birsa Munda International Airport after travelling from Raipur on the eve of the floor test at Jharkhand Assembly, in Ranchi on September 4, 2022.

United Progressive Alliance (UPA) MLAs arrive at Birsa Munda International Airport after travelling from Raipur on the eve of the floor test at Jharkhand Assembly, in Ranchi on September 4, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid a deepening political crisis in Jharkhand and a 10-day-long stalemate and suspense, Chief Minister Hemant Soren-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government is all set to seek a trust vote in the State Assembly on Monday.

With hours left to the decision, the UPA and its Opposition have been spurred into action. While the UPA MLAs, who were camped out in a resort in Raipur in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh, reached Ranchi on Sunday evening, BJP convened its legislators for a meeting the same day to chalk out its strategy for the House.

It is said that all UPA MLAs will be put up in a place in Ranchi till the trust vote.

“A state of confusion is prevailing in Jharkhand. Our delegation met the Governor [on September 1] and he assured us to clear the air in a day or two but nothing has happened till now. So, we’ll raise our points in the State Assembly and prove our majority,” State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alamgir Alam told media persons in Ranchi.

“Mr. Soren’s disqualification as a member of the House will not stand in the court and it will be dismissed in hours,” a Cabinet Minister said on Sunday.

Explained | Hemant Soren and the Jharkhand political crisis

On September 1, a few UPA leaders submitted a memorandum to Governor Ramesh Bais, seeking clarification over reports of disqualification of Mr. Soren as a member of the House, in connection with an ‘office of profit’ case. The Governor, said UPA leaders, had assured them that the prevailing air of political uncertainty will be cleared in two days’ time and left for Delhi.

Uncertainty aplenty

It was an alleged decision of the Election Commission of India (ECI), sent to Mr. Bais on August 25, that triggered the political row currently playing out in the State. The ECI’s move was reportedly prompted by a petition to the Governor by State BJP leaders, seeking Mr. Soren’s disqualification. However, Mr. Bais is yet to make the EC decision public.

Amid lingering fear of poaching by BJP, over 31 UPA MLAs were shifted to a luxurious resort in Raipur on August 31. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leaders said that BJP might have may taken a serious attempt to “poach MLAs from UPA in a bid to topple the democratically elected Soren government in a manner similar to Maharashtra”.

Mr. Alam had returned from Raipur to attend a Cabinet meeting on September 2 in which the decision was taken to seek trust vote in Assembly. Some UPA legislators, on the way to Ranchi from Raipur, said they have received a letter from Assembly Secretariat that Mr. Soren has expressed willingness to move a motion of confidence in House to prove his government’s majority.

In the 81-member House, the JMM-led UPA enjoys an absolute majority with JMM having 30 legislators, Congress having 18 (three of them, though, were recently caught with huge cash stash in West Bengal and sent to jail), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) and Nationalist Congress Party having one each. The Opposition BJP has 26 MLAs, while its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) has two; two other legislators support them.

Earlier, it was said that a special session of the House was being called for the trust vote. However, Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahto dismissed the claims, stating, “The one-day Assembly session is being called for the completion of business that was left incomplete in previous session. It is not a special session as there is no political crisis in Jharkhand.”

An MLA of the Congress party, on his part, said, “At best you can say it will be an extension of the previous session of the House.”

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