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Business News/ Politics / News/  Will Champai Soren become Jharkhand CM? A look at seat equation as delay sparks horse-trading fears
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Will Champai Soren become Jharkhand CM? A look at seat equation as delay sparks horse-trading fears

Hemant Soren arrested: As many as 43 MLAs of the ruling JMM-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance reached Rachi airport hours after their meeting with the Governor. Here's why:

Champai Soren along with 43 legislators, after meeting Governor CP Radhakrishnan at Raj Bhavan in Ranchi on Thursday, staked a claim to form the government in the state, (ANI)Premium
Champai Soren along with 43 legislators, after meeting Governor CP Radhakrishnan at Raj Bhavan in Ranchi on Thursday, staked a claim to form the government in the state, (ANI)

Jharkhand spent almost a day without a chief minister after Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday. While Soren was sent to one-day judicial custody in connection with a "land scam" case, a political upheaval unfolded in the state's political arena.

Champai Soren, who is in line to become the next chief minister of Jharkhand, met Governor CP Radhakrishnan on Thursday evening. During the meeting, he demanded that "the process to start the formation of the new government should begin" soon.

ALSO READ: Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren accuses ED of being ‘politically motivated’, having agenda to disrupt state govt

According to Champai Soran's statement, the Governor had assured him that the process would start soon. Champai Soren had earlier staked a claim to form the new government in Jharkhand with the support of 47 legislators.

However, as many as 43 MLAs of the ruling JMM-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alliance reached Rachi airport hours after their meeting with the Governor. This came after members of the JMM-led alliance said they would fly to Hyderabad in case of a delay in government formation.

ALSO READ: Hemant Soren sent to one-day judicial custody in money laundering case: 10 points

Despite this, JMM-led coalition MLAs in Jharkhand were unable to fly to Hyderabad due to unfavourable weather conditions leading to the cancellation of all flights from Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Airport. According to the Hindustan, all the MLAs returned to the state guest house as their flight from Ranchi was rescheduled owing to weather conditions.

But, why were MLAs being flown to Hyderabad?

Jharkhand MLAs flying off to Hyderabad heralded the beginning of "resort politics". Since the Governor hasn't given time to Champai Soran to take oath yet, the alliance leaders expressed concerns over the delay in forming the new government in the state.

The ruling alliance's MLAs actively took steps to "thwart any attempt of the opposition BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) to poach them". Notably, the Congress is in power in Telangana.

"We are unaware of the reasons for the delay...In case the Raj Bhawan delays in extending an invitation to the alliance to form a government, lawmakers will fly to Hyderabad, in a bid to thwart any attempt of the opposition BJP to poach them," state Congress chief Rajesh Thakur told PTI.

ALSO READ: 'It's a break': Hemant Soren's first reaction after ED arrest in money laundering case

Later, on his way to the airport on Thursday, Thakur said, “We are going to the airport. You know what kind of people they are, they can do anything anytime." 

Meanwhile, Congress in-charge for Jharkhand Ghulam Ahmad Mir was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying, “Many MLAs can be soft targets. We wouldn't have needed to do this if the governor had sworn in the new chief minister..."

Amid the political turmoil, JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya said the details about the oath-taking ceremony will be revealed on Friday. Meanwhile, Aajtak reported that a meeting of the BJP Legislative Party has also been called in Jharkhand at 1:30 pm on Friday.

ALSO READ: ‘Kejriwal is next’: BJP MP warns after Jharkhand ex-CM Hemant Soren's ED arrest in land fraud case

43, 47 or 48? How many MLAs support JMM-Congress-RJD

While some leaders of the JMM-Congress-RJD claimed the support of 47 MLAs, Rajesh Thakur said a total of 43 MLAs will go to Hyderabad — showcasing the support Champai Soran has in the formation of the new government.

Champai Soren had earlier claimed he was waiting for an invite from the Raj Bhavan to form the government as he has the support of 47 MLAs in the 81-member assembly. He said a letter of support signed by 43 MLAs had already been submitted.

Meanwhile, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge tweeted on X, saying that despite having the support of 48 MLAs, not inviting Champai Soren to form the government is clearly contempt of the Constitution and denial of public mandate.

The state Congress chief said 43 MLAs were flying to Hyderabad, but "three-four MLAs will stay in Ranchi to keep a watch here." This makes a total of 46-47 MLAs.

Earlier in the day, the JMM-led alliance released a video showing the support of 43 MLAs in Jharkhand amid the political crisis. It is yet to be seen how many MLAs actually support Champai Soren and the ruling alliance.

 

How numbers stack up in Jharkhand Assembly

Of the total 81 assembly members, a party needs 41 to form a majority. As of now, the JMM, the Congress and the RJD alliance has at least 46 MLAs. According to the Jharkhand Assembly website, here's a political party-wise breakup in the fifth Jharkhand Assembly:

1. JMM has 29 MLAs

2. BJP has 25 MLAs

3. Congress has 16

4. Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Democratic) (JVMP) has two MLas

5. AJSU has 3 MLAs

6. RJD and NCP have one MLA each

7. There are two Independent MLAs

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Published: 01 Feb 2024, 09:55 PM IST
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