Ranchi: With Raj Bhavan maintaining silence over the Election Commission’s ruling on the Chief Minister’s continuance as an MLA, ruling UPA MLAs are now closeted in a meeting at Hemant Soren’s residence here to chalk out a strategy in the wake of the crisis.
"An important meeting has been convened at the Chief Minister's residence to discuss the emerging political scenario," a minister who did not wish to be quoted told PTI.
Following a petition by the BJP seeking Soren’s disqualification from the Assembly in an office of profit case, the Election Commission has sent its decision to state Governor Ramesh Bais on August 25.
Though the EC’s decision is not yet made official, there was a buzz that the poll panel has recommended the chief minister’s disqualification as an MLA. The Raj Bhavan did not announce anything on this matter since then.
The UPA legislators have requested the governor to clear the confusion saying they were ready to face any situation.
On August 28, UPA constituents – the JMM, Congress and the RJD – had in a joint statement accused the governor of encouraging political horse-trading by "deliberately delaying" announcing a decision on the CM's membership of the legislature.
Meanwhile, speculations are again rife that UPA legislators could be flown to either Chhattisgarh or West Bengal, “friendly states” ruled by non-BJP parties.
Sources in the ruling coalition neither confirmed nor denied such a possibility.
Soren’s JMM believes that the BJP may make a serious attempt to poach MLAs from it and from the Congress in a bid to topple the government in a manner “similar to Maharashtra” and there is a need to ringfence the legislators in a “safe haven.”
There were speculations on August 27 that the UPA legislators would go to an undisclosed destination in West Bengal or Chhattisgarh as the legislators entered the chief minister’s residence for a meeting with luggage. Later on that day, they left Ranchi in three buses for Latratu, near the border with Chhattisgarh, only to return to the state capital by the evening.
The ruling coalition has 49 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly.
A meeting of the Jharkhand cabinet has been scheduled on September 1 at 4 pm.