The Election Commission has sent its opinion to Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais on the disqualification of JMM’s Dumka legislator Basant Soren, brother of Chief Minister Hemant Soren, from the Assembly in an office of profit case, an EC source said.
The EC’s opinion came at a time when the chief minister himself is facing the threat of disqualification as an MLA for the same reason.
“The opinion on Basant Soren has been sent to the Jharkhand Governor on Friday. The contents of the communication are not known,” the EC source told PTI in New Delhi.
A source in Raj Bhavan here also confirmed on Saturday that the Governor is in receipt of a recommendation concerning Basant Soren.
Hemant Soren allegedly procured stone mining leases in his name while being the chief minister and holding the mines portfolio. His brother, on the other hand, is accused of having suppressed information about his association with a mining company in which he is a director.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the complainant in both cases, has sought disqualification of the Soren brothers from the Assembly under provisions of the Representation of the People Act.
Amid suspense over the CM’s continuance as an MLA, Bais went to Delhi on September 2 and returned to Ranchi on September 8. The governor went to Delhi a day after assuring the ruling UPA MLAs at a meeting that he will clear all doubts regarding the CM soon.
The political crisis in the state began late last month. 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 25 August. Though the EC’s decision has not yet been made public, there is a buzz that the poll panel has recommended the chief minister’s disqualification as an MLA.
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) took its MLAs to Chhattisgarh on 30 August as JMM was afraid that the BJP may attempt to poach legislators, and returned to Ranchi on the evening of 4 September to attend a special session of the Assembly the next day, in which the Hemant Soren government won a confidence vote.
The UPA has claimed that disqualification of the CM as an MLA will not affect the government, as the ruling JMM-Congress-RJD coalition enjoys an absolute majority in the 81-member House.
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.