Champai Soren government wins trust vote in J’khand assembly
RANCHI — Jharkhand’s JMM-led coalition government headed by Chief Minister Champai Soren won the vote of confidence on Monday after getting 47 votes in the 81-member assembly, following which the ruling alliance claimed that it was a “slap” on the face of BJP that tried to destabilise a democratically elected government.
While 29 legislators voted against the motion, Independent legislator Saryu Roy abstained. Seventy-seven MLAs were present in the assembly during the voting, in which arrested former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren also participated.
“Hemant hai to himmat hai (if Hemant is there, strength is there),” said Champai Soren in his address to the special session of the assembly as he moved the confidence motion.
The chief minister also said he is proud that his government is “part 2” of the Hemant Soren administration.
“Misuse of the ED and the CBI by the Centre is a threat to democracy. I urge all to save democracy by following the path of the Father of the constitution,” Champai Soren said while referring to B R Ambedkar.
After winning the trust vote, Champai Soren said, “We will work at full pace on the schemes started by Hemant Soren” and added that the cabinet expansion will take place in the next 2-3 days.
Taking part in the debate, the JMM executive president Hemant Soren challenged the BJP to prove the corruption charges against him, asserting that if the accusations were proved, he would quit politics.
Hemant Soren, who is in ED custody and was allowed by a special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court to participate in the trust vote, also launched a scathing attack against the BJP and alleged that the Raj Bhavan was instrumental in his arrest after a “conspiracy hatched by the Centre”.
“I challenge BJP to prove corruption charges against me. If proved, I will resign from politics…January 31 was a black chapter in India’s history. A chief minister was arrested at the behest of the Raj Bhavan…The BJP doesn’t want a tribal CM to complete five years in Jharkhand…,” Hemant Soren said.
“However, I will not shed tears now. I will give a befitting reply to the feudal forces at an appropriate time,” Hemant Soren said.
Claiming that Tribals would be forced to shun their religion as BR Ambedkar was compelled to convert to Buddhism, he alleged that the BJP considers Tribals “untouchable”.
“Tribals and Dalits are not safe under the present regime in the country…I will come back with more strength. Opposition’s conspiracy will be thwarted,” Hemant Soren said.
When the Ram Mandir consecration ceremony at Ayodhya took place on January 22, the BJP had stated it would bring Ram Rajya, he noted, adding: “First they destabilise the government in Bihar and then in Jharkhand.”
JMM legislature party leader Champai Soren took oath as the chief minister of Jharkhand on February 2, after Hemant Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case after over seven hours of questioning last week.
When the former chief minister reached the assembly, the ruling JMM-led alliance MLAs greeted him with slogans like ‘Hemant Soren zindabad’.
In his address, Jharkhand Governor C P Radhakrishnan said the task was to make Jharkhand corruption-free and prosperous.
“For the past years, the government worked for the development of people. Now, our task is to continue the progress and make Jharkhand corruption-free and prosperous,” the governor said.
Congratulating the ruling coalition on winning the trust vote, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at a rally here said: “Want to congratulate all alliance MLAs, (Champai) Soren ji as they stopped the BJP-RSS conspiracy and protected the government of the poor”. The rally was part of his Manipur-to-Maharashtra ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’.
Gandhi also alleged that the BJP tried to topple the JMM-Congress-RJD government in Jharkhand as the chief minister was a tribal.
“The Congress and the JMM stood against them together and the government was saved. They do this in all opposition-ruled states through probe agencies and money power.
“They are attacking democracy and the Constitution and want to suppress the voice of the people. The INDIA coalition will not let the voice of democracy be suppressed,” the Congress leader, who also met Kalpana Soren, the wife of former chief minister Hemant Soren, said.
JMM legislator Mithilesh Kumar Thakur said:”The win in the confidence vote is a tight slap on the face of the BJP. The victory of the alliance in the trust vote is a befitting reply to forces conspiring against it.”
Leader of opposition in the assembly Amar Bauri’s comment that Congress is anti-national and anti-Jharkhand prompted ruling party MLAs to troop into the well to protest.
AJSU Party chief Sudesh Mahto said there is nothing abnormal in the questioning of Hemant Soren by central agencies as the Prime Minister of the country too had faced investigations earlier.
State BJP president Babulal Marandi urged the new chief minister to free Jharkhand from the clutches of a corrupt government system and middlemen.
The majority alliance has 47 MLAs — JMM 29, Congress 17 and RJD 1 in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly. The BJP has 26 members and the AJSU Party has three. The NCP and CPI (ML) have one lawmaker each, apart from two Independents. There is also one nominated member.
Out of 81, 77 members were present in the assembly including nominated member from the Anglo-Indian community Glen Joseph Galstaun during the voting. JMM’s Ramdas Soren and BJP’s Indrajit Mahto were said to be sick while Independent MLA Amit Yadav was absent. JMM MLA from Gandey Sarfaraz Ahmad resigned on December 31.
Except for non-tribal BJP leader Raghubar Das, none of the other 10 previous chief ministers, whether belonging to the saffron party or JMM, could complete a full five-year term in the state, formed in 2000.
Meanwhile, the Jharkhand High Court adjourned the hearing of Hemant Soren’s petition challenging his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate till February 12.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Shree Chandrashekhar and Justice Rajesh Kumar asked the central agency to file its reply on Soren’s petition by February 9.