Amid the looming threat on chief minister Hemant Soren’s Assembly membership, the ruling UPA coalition in Jharkhand tabled and won a confidence motion in the House as Opposition BJP staged walk out.
Out of the 78 MLAs, 48 voted in favour of the JMM-Congress-RJD government. Three suspended MLAs of the Congress could not vote as a court in West Bengal barred them from leaving Kolkata in case of recovery of Rs 49 lakh from their car.
Political experts believe that the confidence motion was a tool for the Soren government to send a message of unity to the BJP amid continuing uncertainty regarding Soren’s fate as an MLA in an office-of-profit case.
The BJP, however, called the trust vote motion an “unconstitutional political stunt” while walking out of the Assembly before the voting.
In justification, CM Soren said, “The need for the confidence vote was felt because the BJP has been attempting to destabilise duly-elected governments in states not ruled by it.”
Launching a scathing attack on the BJP, Soren referred to the state of uncertainty that had gripped Jharkhand ever since media reports said that the Election Commission (EC) had advised Governor Ramesh Bais to disqualify him as an MLA in an office-of-profit matter.
The Election Commission had made its recommendation to the Governor based on a complaint filed by the BJP.
“Uncertainty has been prevailing in the state since August 25 after media reports that the EC has recommended to the Governor that Soren be disqualified as an MLA. The Governor is silent. A UPA delegation met him urging him to clear the air. He even assured us of clarity in a few days, but went to Delhi through the backdoor,” said Soren.
Soon after meeting the UPA delegation, Governor Bais left for New Delhi and has reportedly yet to return to Ranchi, triggering further speculations regarding Soren’s fate.
“We want to show you through this (motion) that there is no threat to this government. And any kind of horse-trading will not work. People are watching. Forget about the next Assembly polls; people will teach you a lesson even in Lok Sabha elections,” Soren said.
I won’t cow down, he added.