Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Thursday asked Governor Ramesh Bais to provide him a copy of the recommendation made by the Election Commission for taking action against him in an office-of-profit case.
In a meeting with Bais, Soren urged the governor to dispel speculation on whether he would be disqualified as an MLA from the Assembly.
A political crisis has been looming over Jharkhand since media reports on August 25 said that the Election Commission has sought Soren’s disqualification as an MLA.
The chief minister is facing allegations against him in an office-of-profit case. The case is based on a 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.
The Election Commission had informed the governor about its decision in a sealed cover, the reports had said. However, Soren maintained that he did not receive any communication either from the Election Commission or the governor.
On August 29, a delegation of the ruling United Progressive Alliance in Jharkhand had also met the governor and asked him how information got leaked to the media from his office.
On Thursday, Soren alleged that misinformation spread by the Bharatiya Janata Party and “selective leaks” of information from the governor’s office has led to confusion within the state government and among the public.
He also claimed that the BJP was misusing the confusion to gain power in the state unethically.
“Provide an opportunity for reasonable hearing at the earliest so that the atmosphere of uncertainty, which is dangerous for a healthy democracy, can be removed soon,” Soren said in a letter to the governor.
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.
If the governor announces Soren’s disqualification, then he will have to resign as an MLA. Soren, however, can get re-elected within six months. He can also continue to remain the chief minister if legislators of the ruling United Progressive Alliance name him as the leader of the coalition.