The Chief Minister Hemant Soren-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Jharkhand on Monday won the trust vote in the 81-member State Assembly, with 48 members voting in support of ruling coalition. The opposition staged a walk-out.
It was for the first time that a ruling coalition government in Jharkhand had moved a confidence motion to prove majority in the House. With Mr. Soren winning the trust vote, the political stalemate prevailing in Jharkhand appears to have drawn to a close.
During the debate over the confidence motion, the Chief Minister slammed the BJP, saying, “It [the BJP] only does power politics and does politics of Hindu-Muslim but, I’m also son of Shibu Soren and I’ll not be cowed down.”
“The BJP is a party of businessmen and they were trying to buy our MLAs, threatened the ruling party legislators, but could not succeed,” he added.
“In the 2024 Lok Sabha poll, the BJP will be wiped out as the people of the country will give them a befitting reply,” Mr. Soren added.
The opposition BJP and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) walked out from the House during the voting but participated in the debate over the confidence motion.
“There have been incidents of rape, murder and loot in the State but the ruling party MLAs were busy in boat riding and enjoying luxurious life in a resort. They have brought the confidence motion out of fear and nothing else,” charged BJP MLA Neelkanth Singh Munda.
“It is to escape from the grave charges made against him that Chief Minister Hemant Soren had brought in the confidence motion in the House,” AJSU president Sudesh Mahto told media persons outside the State Assembly.
On Sunday evening, over 31 UPA MLAs, who were staying at a resort in Raipur in Chhattisgarh on August 30, returned to Ranchi to vote in favour of the confidence motion. They were lodged at the Ranchi Circuit House and brought to the State Assembly on Monday in a bus.
Amid fear of alleged poaching by the BJP, UPA MLAs had on August 27 gone together to the Latratu dam guest house in Khunti district, but returned to Ranchi in the evening.
The suspense over Mr. Soren’s disqualification from membership of the State Assembly and his government’s alleged fall in connection with ‘office of profit’ charges made against him by the BJP, was started on February 10 this year, when former CM and senior State BJP leader Raghuvar Das had complained to the Governor Ramesh Bais in an office of profit case.
On the next day, August 11, the BJP demanded Mr. Soren’s membership be disqualified for securing the lease of a stone mine in his name while being the State’s Minister for Mines. The Governor later forwarded the BJP’s complaint to the Election Commission of India (ECI) for action.
On August 25, BJP MP from Godda, Nishikant Dubey, told journalists that the ECI had sent notice to Hemant Soren in the office of profit case to the Governor, and his membership would be disqualified from the State Assembly. This triggered a situation of political uncertainty and suspense over the Mr. Soren-led UPA government in the State, and the ruling alliance’s MLAs later met the Governor to submit a memorandum seeking to clear the air on the issue. The Governor, said UPA MLAs, had assured them he would clear the prevailing suspense in two days but left for Delhi instead.
On August 30, over 31 UPA MLAs took a chartered flight to stay at a resort in Raipur in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh. However, they returned on September 4 to participate in the confidence motion proposed by Mr. Soren in the House on September 5.
The Opposition created pandemonium in the House and trooped into the Well while protesting the ruling government’s confidence motion. It participated in debate over the issue, but walked out from voting.
The Speaker, Rabindra Nath Mahto, later announced that 48 members had voted for the ruling UPA government. The Speaker subsequently adjourned the House sine die.