Jharkhand: Court reserves order on Hemant Soren as guv invites JMM alliance MLAs to meet

Governor C.P. Radhakrishnan invited alliance leaders to a meeting amid concerns over the delay in appointing Champai Soren as the next CM

Jharkhand governor C.P. Radhakrishnan with PM Narendra Modi
Jharkhand governor C.P. Radhakrishnan with PM Narendra Modi

NH Political Bureau

A special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) court in Ranchi has sent former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), to judicial custody for a day, lawyers said.

The ED sought a 10-day remand for Soren. The court reserved its order for Friday. Soren was arrested after a seven-hour grilling by the ED in a money laundering case on Wednesday night.

Following his arrest, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led alliance nominated state transport minister and senior JMM leader Champai Thakur as the new CM, though the governor is yet to accept the recommendation and summon Champai Soren to form the government.

Instead, governor C.P. Radhakrishnan invited alliance leaders to a meeting at 5.30 pm on Thursday, amid concerns among the ruling coalition over the delay in the appointment of Champai Soren as the next chief minister.

Champai Soren, in a letter to the governor, said Hemant Soren had tendered his resignation as chief minister on Wednesday night, which was accepted by the Raj Bhavan at 8.45 pm.

"There is no government in existence in the state for the last 18 hours. There is a situation of confusion...You are the constitutional head...We all the MLAs and the people expect that you will pave the way for the formation of a popular government...", the letter to the governor said.

Earlier in the day, state Congress chief Rajesh Thakur told PTI, "JMM legislature party leader Champai Soren, who is leading the alliance, has sought time from the governor at 3.00 pm today to prove his majority."

On Wednesday, Champai Soren met the governor and staked a claim to form the new government with support from 47 legislators. Claiming that the governor said he would get back after reviewing all the papers, the alliance leaders expressed concern over the delay.

"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 by the (opposition) BJP to poach them," Thakur told PTI.

Sources in the ruling coalition also said steps were being taken to shift its MLAs to Hyderabad to prevent any poaching attempts by the BJP. Two chartered planes — one 12-seater and another with 37 seats — have been booked for shifting legislators to Hyderabad, sources said.

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