Jharkhand: Hemant Soren wins trust vote, says it ‘shows strength’ against BJP

In a show of strength in the Jharkhand Assembly, the JMM-led ruling coalition on Monday won a trust vote in the 82-member House with 48 MLAs voting in favor of the government, while the opposition BJP and AJSU boycotted the proceedings.

The special session was marked by a spirited address by Chief Minister Hemant Soren, who accused the BJP of trying to topple his government and questioned the Governor for not airing the Election Commission’s recommendation on his eligibility to continue as MLA questioned last year for granting himself a mining lease.

The BJP later criticized Soren for calling the votes, saying “the government has no faith in its own MLAs”.

The trust vote victory is seen as a boost to the credibility of the Soren government, while temporarily settling uncertainty over its future. But sources in the JMM admitted that it does not resolve the rift in the ruling coalition, sparked by suspense over Soren’s fate as an MLA. “The real test will be when the governor’s decision on Soren’s eligibility as an MLA is made public,” a source said.

The ruling coalition has 49 MLAs – JMM 30, Congress 18, and RJD one. But three Congress MLAs faced disqualification after they were arrested in West Bengal allegedly with unaccounted money in their vehicle. In his absence on Monday, NCP’s Kamlesh Singh and CPI (ML)’s Vinod Singh voted in favor of the government.

The trust vote continued despite opposition from the BJP, which questioned the need for such a move “at a time when important issues like drought are not being discussed”. BJP MLA from Khunti Neelkanth Singh Munda said, “People of Jharkhand believe that the government is scared. Neither the opposition, the judiciary, nor the governor has sought a trust vote, then why this fear? It seems that the government does not have faith in its own MLAs.

Addressing this criticism in his speech, Soren said: “They (BJP) are asking what is the need for this (trust vote), but the government wants to prove and tell the country and the people of this state. That the current UPA government is there since then. 2019 has worked hard to tackle COVID-19 and stabilized this state.”

In a veiled attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, “We were fortunate… that our government had a tough time during the COVID-19 pandemic… If the BJP government had the same thing, our workers would What would happen to the poor people of this state… because their high command (supremo) says in their speeches that people will travel by air wearing slippers. Forget about air travel, they didn’t even leave them in a condition to walk on the road.”

Attacking the BJP leadership for raising the issue of “free” for voters, Soren said, “They do not have money to give pension to the state and they say that state governments give freebies. Excuse me, it’s a freebie.”

Referring to his alliance to defeat the BJP in the 2019 state elections, Soren accused the party of using constitutional institutions to trample on popular state governments in non-BJP states. “If we start listing the achievements of our government, the ink of the pen will run out,” he said.

Soren accused the Election Commission of adopting double standards, saying the panel was “silent” on a letter sent by the state government about BJP MLA Samri Lal being “elected on false documents”.

Referring to the opinion of the Election Commission sent to the Governor on his eligibility as MLA, Soren said, “ECI says they have sent the letter, and the Governor is silent.”

Explaining the reason for calling the trust vote, he said that an attempt has been made to intimidate the MLAs and indulge in horse-trading. “That’s why this session has been called. Look how strong we are inside the assembly and outside the assembly..…

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