Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, whose job is in trouble over allegations of corruption, proposed a test of his majority in the assembly today amid allegations by the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led coalition that the BJP of trying to topple the government by engineering defections.
Hemant Soren tabled the trust vote in a special one-day session of the Jharkhand assembly.
“The opposition has destroyed democracy. The BJP has been indulging in horse-trading of legislators… We will show our strength in the house,” the Chief Minister said in the assembly against the backdrop of slogan-shouting by BJP MLAs.
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“We have heard of people buying clothes, ration, grocery. But only the BJP is into buying legislators,” he alleged.
MLAs of the ruling coalition flew back into state capital Ranchi yesterday on a special flight from Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh, where they were sequestered at a luxury resort to prevent alleged poaching attempts.
The MLAs spent the night together at the state guest house and were taken straight to the assembly today.
Asked why he was taking the trust vote, Hemant Soren told reporters: “Who will take a trust vote? The opposition?”
He added: “The opposition has spread a web of conspiracies to bring me down. They will be trapped in the web of their own making.”
The opposition BJP says Hemant Soren must be disqualified as an MLA over allegations that he violated election norms by giving himself a mining lease. The party has called for fresh elections and has demanded that the Chief Minister resign “on moral grounds”.
If Mr Soren is disqualified as an MLA, he cannot continue as Chief Minister.
Mr Soren and his party JMM have accused the BJP of trying to take advantage of the crisis and lure MLAs of the ruling coalition to cross over and bring down the elected government, following the pattern in states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.
The Election Commission has submitted its opinion to the Governor, who is expected to announce his decision on Mr Soren any day.
The ruling coalition has 49 MLAs in the 81-member assembly in which the majority mark is 41. The JMM, the largest party, has 30 MLAs, the Congress 18, and Tejashwi Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has one.
The BJP, which is the main opposition, has 26 MLAs.