2 flights of Jharkhand MLAs land in Hyderabad

Congress sources say about 40 legislators of the state Assembly from the JMM-led ruling coalition landed at Begumpet airport

Champai Soren (left) and Hemant Soren (photo: National Herald archives)
Champai Soren (left) and Hemant Soren (photo: National Herald archives)
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PTI

The MLAs of the ruling JMM-led alliance in Jharkhand landed in Hyderabad on Friday, 2 January, getting away from the state capital of Ranchi and indeed the state itself, amid fears that the BJP may attempt to poach them in the run-up to the trust vote that the newly formed Champai Soren government faces next week.

About 40 legislators arrived at Begumpet airport in Hyderabad on two chartered flights, Congress sources said. AICC Telangana in-charge Deepa Das Munshi and state transport minister Ponnam Prabhakar received the MLAs.

The MLAs were expected yesterday. However, the planes could not take off on Thursday night, 1 February, due to poor visibility. The MLAs had to return to Circuit House in Ranchi after a two-hour wait at the airport.

It was not immediately known where the ruling coalition MLAs would be accommodated.

A senior leader of the ruling coalition had said in Ranchi that the decision to shift the legislators to Hyderabad, capital of Congress-ruled Telangana, was taken considering that the opposition BJP may make attempts to poach or pressurise them.

"We were given 10 days to prove the government's majority. We can't take any chance during the period as the BJP might try to contact our MLAs," the senior leader said.

A video released by the JMM-led coalition on Thursday, 1 February, showed the new government can claim the support of 43 legislators in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly.

Champai Soren, who was formerly the transport minister, became the new leader of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha legislature party after Hemant Soren's resignation as chief minister on the night of Wednesday, 31 January, following a marathon interrogation by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case. He was subsequently arrested.

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