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Amid Political Crisis, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren to Seek Trust Vote on Monday

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Amid suspense over the continuation of the Jharkhand Chief Minister as an MLA, Hemant Soren will seek a vote of trust during the special session of the Assembly on Monday, an official said. As per a letter sent to the MLAs by the Assembly secretariat, the chief minister has expressed his willingness to move a motion of confidence to prove his majority. Opposition BJP has also convened its legislature party’s meeting on Sunday to chalk out its strategy in the House, party sources said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Alamgir Alam said, “A state of confusion is prevailing in Jharkhand. Our delegation met the Governor (on Thursday) and he assured us to clear the air in a day or two. But nothing has happened till now. Therefore, we will raise our points in the Assembly and prove our majority”. Following a petition by the BJP seeking Soren’s disqualification from the Assembly in an office of profit case, the Election Commission (EC) sent its decision to Governor Ramesh Bais on August 25, sparking a political crisis in the state.

Though the EC’s decision has not yet been made official, there is a buzz that the poll panel has recommended the chief minister’s disqualification as an MLA. The ruling UPA has asserted that disqualification of the CM as an MLA will not affect the government, as the JMM-Congress-RJD coalition enjoys an absolute majority in the 81-member House.

After a meeting with the UPA MLAs on September 1 on the issue, the governor went to Delhi on Friday, triggering further speculation. Raj Bhavan sources, however, said it was a personal visit for a medical check-up and he is likely to return to Jharkhand on Sunday.

In a joint statement on August 28, UPA constituents had accused Bais of encouraging political horse-trading by deliberately delaying announcing the decision. Soren’s party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) believes that the BJP may make a serious attempt to poach MLAs from the party and also from the ally Congress in a bid to topple the government in a manner similar to Maharashtra.

To ringfence the legislators in a safe haven, as many as 32 MLAs of the ruling coalition were on August 30 taken to a resort in Raipur, the capital of Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh. Four of them, however, returned to take part in a cabinet meeting held on Thursday, in which it was decided that a special session of the Jharkhand Assembly will be convened on September 5.

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.

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