JMM-Cong Coalition Will Field Joint Candidate, No Discord in Ruling Alliance: Hemant Soren

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren said on Sunday the ruling coalition in the state would field a joint candidate for the Rajya Sabha seat it is likely to win and dismissed suggestions that there was any discord with ally Congress. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader, however, did not specify whether the candidate would be from his party or the Congress and said the announcement of the name would be from Ranchi.

Interacting with reporters here, Soren said he was visiting Delhi specially for deliberations on Rajya Sabha polls following the JMM’s legislative party meeting on Saturday. “In the contest of Rajya Sabha polls, it was important to talk to other parties of the coalition, especially the Congress people. I met Sonia Gandhi ji yesterday and we deliberated on many issues, including the Rajya Sabha polls candidature, for over an hour,” he said.

“There is agreement on certain issues and I think that this will be implemented on the ground. There will be one candidate on behalf of the coalition in the state. Bear with us as we would take some more time in taking this issue to its conclusion. The announcement in this regard would be made in Jharkhand,” the chief minister told reporters. To a query about the candidate’s party, Soren said once the candidate is declared, everyone would know the answer.

Asked about reports of unease in the alliance, he said, “I don’t know, who said this. I never felt so.” ”I did not see any such thing within the government and if such would be the case then there would not have been a discussion with the Congress president for over an hour,” he said, referring to his meeting with Sonia Gandhi on Saturday. On the Congress agitating against the state government on a few occasions, Soren dubbed it as minor issues that keep cropping up in a household.

Two seats of Rajya Sabha from Jharkhand will go to the polls as the tenures of Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and BJP MP Mahesh Poddar are expiring on July 7. The last date for filing nominations is May 31, while the voting will be held on June 10. JMM has 30 members in the state assembly, while Congress has 17 MLAs. The main opposition BJP has 26 MLAs. Congress has been seeking JMM’s support for its candidate, while a JMM spokesperson had said on Saturday that the party has decided to field its candidate.

Soren also hit out at the Centre over the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raids in the state in connection with the alleged MNREGA scam. “We very well know the condition of central agencies in the country right now. I am co-relating the NCB case of Shah Rukh Khan’s son Aryan Khan in Mumbai to the action by Enforcement Directorate in Jharkhand. ”You know the context of the ED action…Even after 20-25 days, neither is there anything available on the ED website nor has anything been made public as to what they found in this,” he said.

Asked about various challenges he has been facing, Soren said, “They can try as much but will not be able to harm even a hair of my head.” On whether the coalition government will last its full term, he said, “The son of a lion will be a lion only” and stressed on the fighting spirit of tribals. Soren also said the Centre owes about Rs 1,36,000 crore, of which the state has got only some amount after he came to power.

The Jharkhand chief minister also slammed the Centre over the issue of GST and said the state’s resources had been limited. Asked if he would coordinate with other non-BJP states over such issues, he answered in the affirmative.

Soren also called for publishing the details of the caste census and supported the demand that such an exercise be conducted going forward.

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