Leaders of the ruling United Progressive Alliance in Jharkhand urged the governor on Sunday to dispel speculation on whether Chief Minister Hemant Soren will be disqualified as an MLA from the Assembly, PTI reported.
“If there is any report from the Election Commission, the governor should make it public and announce his decision,” Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MLA and minister Champai Soren told reporters. “Developmental works are being hampered due to the confusion.”
Leaders of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal held a joint press conference on Sunday evening after a meeting, according to PTI. They expressed concerns that delay in a decision from the governor could prompt poaching of MLAs.
A political crisis has been looming over Jharkhand since last week after reports said on Thursday that the Election Commission has suggested disqualifying Soren as an MLA for being held guilty in an office-of-profit case. The Election Commission had informed the governor about its decision in a sealed cover, the reports said. However, Soren maintained that he did not receive any communication either from the Election Commission or the governor.
The poll panel order came on an office-of-profit complaint filed by the Bharatiya Janata Party alleging that Soren allotted a mining lease in his own name. Soren also holds the mining portfolio in Jharkhand.
An office-of-profit means a position that brings to the person holding it financial gains or benefits.
On Saturday, as reports suggested that Governor Ramesh Bais was likely to send the disqualification order to the Election Commission, Soren briefly took MLAs of his alliance to a resort in Khunti district, reportedly to avoid poaching attempts from the BJP.
On Sunday, the ruling alliance said that by not taking a decision on the matter, the governor was pushing the state towards crisis, PTI reported.
“Does Raj Bhavan want to fuel horse-trading by buying time?” the alliance questioned in a joint statement. “What is the legal advice that he is not able to take? This is an insult to democracy and the people.”
The statement also noted that the BJP could make attempts to stage a coup like in Maharashtra, where several MLAs led by Eknath Shinde rebelled against the Uddhav Thackeray government in June. The Shinde faction then formed government with support from the BJP.
“We have seen how the dignity of the post of governor was degraded in Maharashtra and other states,” the joint statement released on Sunday read, according to PTI. “This is unfortunate. It is very sad that an outside gang is operating in the state.”
In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, the Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha is the largest party with 30 MLAs. The Congress has 18 legislators, while the Rashtriya Janata Dal has one. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs in the House.