Amidst the political turmoil in Jharkhand, a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party is underway on Saturday evening to deliberate on strategy for further course of action.
The meeting is being presided over by Congress general secretary in-charge Avinash Pande.
In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, the ruling alliance has 30 MLAs of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), 18 MLAs of the Congress and one MLA of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
"All MLAs and ministers have only gathered to discuss the political activities that have gone down in the past few days. We are here to discuss the matter and reach some conclusion on it," Pande told ANI.
Earlier on Saturday, Chief Minister Hemant Soren had called a meeting of the state's ruling UPA coalition members, amidst speculation about his possible disqualification as an MLA in the state assembly for allegedly violating poll norms by extending himself a mining lease. This was the third meeting in two days. Several MLAs were seen arriving for the meeting with luggage in tow.
Prior to the meeting at Soren's house, the Congress Jharkhand president Rajesh Thakur said that all the MLAs have been asked to come prepared.
"I have no information about this. MLAs are coming with luggage for the meeting because they have been asked to be ready. We will let you know if MLAs are asked to shift somewhere," Thakur said.
Further, during the afternoon, two buses carrying MLAs of the JMM-led ruling alliance were seen leaving the Jharkhand chief minister's residence in Ranchi. The MLAs went on a visit of the dam in the outskirts of Ranchi and came back to the residence of Soren in the evening.
The Congress has blamed the BJP for polluting politics in the state. "Jharkhand's politics is different... BJP is trying to pollute politics here. If EC sends a report in a sealed envelope, it gets leaked even before it's opened. The alliance government's recent decisions will affect their (BJP) base in tribal areas," Jharkhand Congress working president Bandhu Tirkey told ANI.
Taking a jibe at the Soren-led meeting, BJP leader Nishikant Dubey said, "Even after scrambling, only 33 MLAs could gather in Ranchi." Meanwhile this morning Soren tweeted that he hailed from the tribal community and was unaffected by the ongoing slugfest.
"This is a tribal son. Never have our ways ever been stopped by their tactics nor have we ever been afraid. Our ancestors have long removed the feeling of fear from us. There's no place of fear in the DNA of us Adivasis," tweeted Jharkhand CM.
On Friday MLAs of the ruling coalition assured Soren of their support. Congress leader and Jharkhand Health Minister Banna Gupta said yesterday that the JMM-Congress coalition is "standing strong".Today's meeting of the MLAs came a day after CM Soren denied receiving any communication from the ECI or Governor Ramesh Bais on the statements about the poll body "recommending his disqualification as an MLA."The Chief Minister's office released a statement on Thursday after several media reports speculated that the ECI has sent a report to the Governor about Soren's disqualification."The Chief Minister is apprised of several media reports about ECI sending a report to Honorable Governor -Jharkhand 'apparently recommending his disqualification as an MLA'. No communication in this regard has been received by CMO from either ECI or Governor," read the statement.
Soren has alleged that the EC report was "drafted" by the principal opposition party in Jharkhand, BJP with its 25 MLAs, to topple the Jharkhand government.
The trail of events gained pace after Nishikant Dubey, BJP Member of Parliament from Godda, Jharkhand, tweeted that a letter from the ECI has reached the Raj Bhavan.
The BJP has sought the disqualification of Soren as an MLA accusing him of allocating a mining lease to himself while he held the portfolio of Mines Minister in 2021.
In February this year, the BJP submitted a memorandum to the Governor seeking disqualification of Soren from the House under Section 9(A) of the Representation of People's Act.The Governor had forwarded the BJP complaint to the ECI and the poll panel in May had issued a notice to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader.