Jharkhand political thriller: Guv holds centre stage after Hemant Soren arrest

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With Hemant Soren in the ED custody, the Jhakhand Mukti Morcha seemingly faces the challenge to keep the flock of the party MLAs intact.

Hemant Soren Jharkhand

Hemant Soren Jharkhand

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, February 1: Jharkhand continues to be without a chief minister while high voltage drama unfolds in Ranchi. Forty three MLAs of the ruling grand alliance could not take off in a chartered plane for Hyderabad as almost all the flights from Ranchi were cancelled on account of an inclement weather.

Hemant Soren had submitted his resignation to the Jharkhand Governor CP Radhakrishnan yesterday evening amid dramatic events. The Enforcement Directorate sleuths took him in the custody last evening with reports claiming that he was arrested soon after he had tendered resignation to the Jharkhand Governor.

Champai Soren is still awaiting an invitation from the Governor to take oath as the chief minister of Jharkhand. This is despite the fact that as many as 43 MLAs have submitted their support to Champai Soren to lead the new government in the state. But the Governor is yet to invite Champai Soren to form the government in the state despite him demonstrating the strength at the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi.

The political developments in Ranchi are in sharp contrast to the change of government in Patna a few days ago. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had submitted his resignation to the state Governor. He afterwards took oath as the chief minister with the new alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), within 10 hours of submitting the resignation. The Governors of Jharkhand and Bihar are evidently acting differently.    

Sensing conspiracy, the grand alliance partners on Thursday arranged two chartered planes to fly 43 MLAs to Hyderabad in an apparent bid to thwart any action of poaching of the legislators. But the plan could not be executed as the planes were denied the permissions to fly on the grounds that the weather was inclement.

With Hemant Soren in the ED custody, the Jhakhand Mukti Morcha seemingly faces the challenge to keep the flock of the party MLAs intact. His plea before the Ranchi High Court for immediate release will be heard on Friday.

The Jharkhand Assembly has a strength of 81 MLAs. The grand alliance is claiming support of 43 MLAs. The Assembly strength is now reduced to 80 because of the resignation of the JMM legislator Sarfaraz Ahmed which was reportedly done to allow the wife of Hemant Soren, Kalpana Soren to contest in the event she had succeeded her husband in the chair of the chief minister.  

It appears that the 37 MLAs are now in the camp of the BJP. The saffron outfit would need the support of the 41 MLAs to stake claim to form the government in Ranchi.

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