Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais is likely to send the order of disqualification of Chief Minister Hemant Soren as an MLA to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday (August 27), Raj Bhavan sources said.
Members of the state’s ruling coalition will gather for the third round of meeting on Saturday (August 27) morning at the chief minister’s residence in the midst of intense speculation about the political fate of Soren, whose assembly membership hangs in balance over a mining lease case.
“The governor will sign the disqualification order today and it will be sent to the ECI,” a Raj Bhavan source told PTI.
Sources in the governor’s official residence had on Thursday (August 25) claimed that the ECI has recommended Soren’s disqualification as an MLA for violating electoral norms by extending a mining lease to himself, but there has been no official confirmation yet.
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The legislators of the ruling JMM-Congress-RJD coalition, who had held marathon meetings on Friday (August 26) morning and evening, will again meet at around 11 am on Saturday (August 27) to chalk out further strategies.
Sources in the ruling alliance said that strategies were being chalked out to ensure that there was no threat to the government. Insiders in the Congress, a crucial ally in the JMM-led ruling coalition, had said that “ring-fencing” of MLAs by parking them in a resort in a “friendly state” such as West Bengal, Bihar or Chhattisgarh is being considered as an option to prevent legislator poaching by the BJP.
However, they said a decision on the future course of action can be taken once the governor communicates to them the ECI’s opinion on the possible disqualification of Soren as an MLA.
Soren, who was in Latehar on Friday (August 26) to attend a programme, lashed out at the Centre for “unleashing” all constitutional agencies to “de stabilise a democratically elected government”.
Also Read: No letter yet: Jharkhand CM Soren on EC’s disqualification move
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president said “satanic forces” were all out to execute evil designs. He later tweeted, “The Centre has unleashed all agencies on me after I asked for legitimate ₹1.36 lakh crore dues which are pending to the state. When they saw that they cannot harm me, they are trying to harass Guruji (Shibu Soren), who is in a certain age bracket, to get to me.”
The BJP, the petitioner in the case, has sought Soren’s disqualification for violating Section 9(A) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which deals with disqualification for government contracts.
The clause states that “a person shall be disqualified if, and for so long as, there subsists a contract entered into by him in the course of his trade or business with the appropriate government for the supply of goods to, or for the execution of any works undertaken by that government”.
The issue was referred to the governor and by the governor to the EC, as Article 192 of the Constitution states that on rulings regarding an MLAs disqualification, the question shall be referred to the governor who in turn “shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion”.
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The ruling coalition has 49 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly. 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.
The coalition partners had on Thursday claimed that there was no threat to the government. The JMM had exuded confidence that Soren will remain the chief minister for the full term till 2024.
(With inputs from agencies)