Jharkhand: Noose tightening on Hemant Soren


Photo credit Twitter Hemant Soren

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By Manish Anand

New Delhi, July 19: The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday after a marathon interrogation arrested Pankaj Mishra, a key aide of the Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren in Ranchi, amid the fluid political situation in the state. The development has come within days of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha announcing support of the party in the President’s election to the NDA nominee Droupadi Murmu.

The political circle in Jharkhand is abuzz with the likelihood of the collapse of the Soren government, while half of the tenure of the current Assembly remains.

Besides several cases against the Chief Minister, Soren is facing the office of profit case, with the Election Commission proceeding on it speedily. During the last hearing, the BJP had sought additional time to submit more papers with the EC. But the case, according to the Constitution expert is watertight, and Soren may lose his Assembly seat Barhet in the Dumka district.

The JMM is further in the spot, as Soren may not be able to prop up his spouse or any brother for the Chief Minister’s post as the ruling family is engrossed in some of the key cases which are being probed by the investigating agencies, sources said.

The party position in the Jharkhand Assembly also makes it ripe for the BJP to attempt the government formation in the state. While the Congress has 18 MLAs, its senior alliance partner the JMM has 30 MLAs.

The BJP is a strong Opposition in the state Assembly with 26 MLAs, which includes Babu Lal Marandi, besides four more legislators on its flank – two each from the All Jharkhand Students Union and Independents. Thus, the BJP is sitting pretty with 30 MLAs in the House of 81 legislators, and needs another 11 members to stake claims to form the government in the state.

The Congress camp in Jharkhand is growing nervous following the audacious change of government in Maharashtra, as the party is seen too vulnerable given that the party MLAs are keenly watching out the political developments in the state, sources added.

While the JMM leaders in the state are making light of the developments on the investigative agencies probing multiple cases by reading into the body language of Soren with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the inauguration of the Deoghar International Airport, the rank and file of the party is apprehensive of the BJP’s next move.

The BJP will be keen to get back to power in Jharkhand on account of the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS)’s keenness to counter the Christian missionaries in the tribal state.

With the nomination of Droupadi Murmu for the President’s election, the BJP has also made its intent clear to go big in making electoral base among the tribal constituency, while assessing that the JMM being another ‘family-owned political enterprise’ is a proverbial sitting duck for the saffron outfit once the Soren family due to any reason is displaced from the active politics.

Even while the BJP in its rank had Babu Lal Marandi and Arjun Munda, the saffron outfit hadn’t succeeded in denting the support base of the JMM among the tribal community.


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