EC recommends Hemant Soren's disqualification in office of profit case
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has written to Jharkhand governor Ramesh Bais recommending the disqualification of CM Hemant Soren from the state assembly for holding an misusing position. This comes after the state's principal opposition party BJP had complained to the governor about Soren getting a stone quarry mining lease in his name while he was the minister for mining in 2021.
- Soren has been battling corruption charges in the mining lease case for quite some time now since former CM Raghubar Das raised the matter in February this year.
- The governor's call on ECI's recommendation could have serious political ramifications for the incumbent UPA.
- Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court had restrained Jharkhand High Court from proceeding with PILs seeking an investigation into the matter.
The CM's office released a statement alleging that the ECI report seemed to have been drafted by BJP leaders including a BJP MP and their "puppet journalists". The statement further said, "This blatant misuse of Constitutional authorities and public agencies and its complete takeover by BJP HQ in Deendayal Upadhyaya Marg in this shameful manner is unseen in Indian democracy."
Meanwhile, BJP MP from Godda constituency, Nishikant Dubey called for a mid-term poll in all 81 constituencies of the state "on moral grounds". Raghubar Das accused Soren's Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) of looting the state's natural resources since coming to power. He said Soren should be disqualified as an MLA and debarred for contesting elections.
The state mining portfolio is held by Soren. A BJP delegation had sought Soren's disqualification under Section 9A of the Representation of People's Act 1952 from the governor and demanded Soren be removed as chief minister. The governor asked ECI for it's opinion and issued a notice to the chief secretary to furnish all documents regarding the granting of the mining lease.
The incumbent alliance enjoys a comfortable majority against the required 41 seats in the 81-member House. With 30 members, the JMM is the single largest party, while its allies — Congress and RJD, have 18 and one legislator, respectively. On the other hand, BJP has 25 MLAs.