It will be an action replay this Monday in Ranchi of the events Delhi witnessed this week when the Hemant Soren government will bring a ‘confidence motion’ in the Jharkhand assembly. He is also expected to win it in the same fashion as Arvind Kejriwal. The motive of both the CMs is also the same — “expose BJP’s tactics”.
In both states, there was never any threat to the governments in power given the clear majority they enjoy, and hence a confidence motion would seem an exercise in futility. AAP had 62 MLAs in a House of 70 and ultimately won with 58 votes in its favour as three of its MLAs were abroad and minister Satyendra Jain is in jail. The JMM-led alliance similarly had 52 MLAs in the 82-member assembly before three Congress MLAs were suspended on bribery charges and the strength of JMM alliance is now 49 MLAs.
But Kejriwal used the occasion and the floor of the assembly to attack the BJP for “trying to buy 12 AAP MLAs for Rs 20 crore each” and lure Deputy CM Manish Sisodia with a call from a BJP leader. No evidence of both events have been furnished by AAP so far. Similarly, Soren is expected to launch an attack on the BJP on the floor of the House for trying to “destabilise his government” and why he had to fly nearly three dozen of the alliance MLAs out to Raipur in the Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh.
What could however make events of Monday interesting in Ranchi is that the Governor could make public the same day the opinion of the Election Commission of India on the ‘office-of-profit’ controversy around Soren in which many expect him to be disqualified as an MLA. The government has, however, said Soren would in that event resign and will again be chosen and sworn in as the CM and will contest an assembly by-poll within six months. JMM will use the confidence motion to buttress its continuity plan.
BJP in both the cases of the Confidence Motion in Delhi and Ranchi has questioned the logic of the same, pointing out that neither the opposition nor the Speaker or the Governor in both cases have asked the government to prove its numbers. The party’s strategy in Delhi was to say this was Kejriwal’s tactic to divert attention from the various corruption scams in which agencies are increasing the heat on his senior ministers like Sisodia and Satyendra Jain.
In Ranchi, the BJP is taking the line that the confidence motion is an attempt to deflect attention from both the corruption taint on Soren and his close aides as well as the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. A senior BJP leader in Jharkhand told News18 that the party will raise these issues in the House during the special one-day session on September 5, especially the gross mishandling of a case in which a schoolgirl was set ablaze and another incident in which a tribal girl was found hanging by the tree in Dumka.
Soren, however, has taken a leaf out of Kejirwal’s book of tricks to counter the BJP.
In the special one-day session, the Soren government may also introduce a proposal to do a caste census in the state like the one Bihar has embarked upon. This will also be a counter to BJP’s refusal to do a caste census at the national level.