There is a Latin saying Rex Lex which means “the King is the law.” It seems the Jharkhand CM follows it in letter and spirit and thinks himself above the law. He seems to have violated the law left, right and centre by allegedly allotting a mining lease to himself, bypassing literally all laws that exist. The tireless working Raghubar Das can use this opening to stage a comeback in the state.
Trouble mounting for Soren Family
The Jharkhand CM is caught in a grave misuse of power case. Allegedly he has allotted a stone mine lease to himself. Chief Minister Hemant Soren holds mining as well as Environment and Forest Department Portfolio. Hence all the clearance for allotting the mining lease went under his assent. If the accusations are found true, it amounts to a fit case of ‘office of profit’. The Public Representatives are bound by the Representation of People’s Act (RPA) 1951. The RPA clearly defines ‘office of profit’ as grounds for disqualification of the member.
Any matter related to the disqualification or misappropriation by any MP or MLA is only decided by the ECI. Hence the Election Commission of India (ECI) has written a letter to the Jharkhand Chief Secretary Sukhdeo Singh. The ECI wants to ascertain all the facts about the mining lease in the Angara block of Ranchi. As per the Indian Express, ECI said, “…that the Commission requires the following documents to formulate its opinion for the purpose of Article 192 of the Constitution in respect of lease granted to him towards khata number… and plot number… of 0.88 acre land.”
Governor Ramesh Bais, under Article 192 of the constitution, had asked ECI’s opinion on this matter. According to Article 192, on matters of disqualification, the governor is bound to seek an opinion from ECI and act on it, the article states, “Before giving any decision on any such question, the Governor shall obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion”.
This alleged misuse of power has been unearthed by the BJP leader and Former CM Raghubar Das. Acting as a responsible opposition instead of just mud-slinging, Raghubar Das followed proper legal channels. He had submitted the relevant documents to the governor two months back.
The troubles are mounting for the Jharkhand CM from many fronts. The High Court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the same matter. Representing the government, the Advocate General Rajiv Ranjan termed the mining lease granted as a “mistake” and told the honourable High Court that CM Soren had “surrendered” it.
A separate PIL has been filed in the High Court to probe the assets/property earned by the CM’s family beyond their known source of income. The plaintiff Shiv Shankar Sharma, an RTI activist through his PIL had levelled charges of black money and other shoddy businesses against the Soren Family.
Raghubar Das, no more afflicted with the infamous ‘RDS’ syndrome
Raghubar Das, the first non-Tribal chief minister and the first one to complete his term in the office, this time has not only acted like a matured opposition leader but also holds the credit for giving Jharkhand a development led government. The Sorens on the hand, have been notorious and have led the state like a jungle raj where corruption, lawlessness and Maoist activities went unchecked.
As analysed earlier in-depth by TFI, Jharkhand’s former CM Raghubar Das like many other prominent BJP leaders suffered from RDS syndrome, the Raghubar Das Syndrome in which incumbent leaders work tirelessly for the state’s welfare but fail to popularise their achievements and hence establishing “Zero” presence in the media space. In the absence of a narrative of good deeds percolating, the opposition manages to play up its caste and other card combinations trampling on the development done by the incumbent CM and tastes victory.
But as the saying goes, do good and good comes for you. The tirelessly working leader Raghubar Das seems to have found the right opening, thanks to the habitual misdeeds of the Soren family and reports of friction within the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) party. This ‘office of profit’ case against the CM may materialise these reports of friction within the party and coalition.
Jharkhand has an infamous track record of CMs failing to complete their full tenure, which only Raghubar Das broke after completing his innings. These all events are pointing towards a grand comeback of Raghubar Das very soon.