Jharkhand crisis: It ‘rains’ misery on JMM-Congress MLAs’ Hyderabad plans

Jharkhand Congress MLA Banna Gupta, speaking to South First, questioned the Governor's delay in inviting Champai Soren to form the government.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Feb 01, 2024 | 11:53 PMUpdatedFeb 01, 2024 | 11:54 PM

39 Jharkhand MLAs arrived in Hyderabad on 2 February. (Supplied)

It wasn’t just the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha(JMM)-led coalition’s request to the state’s Governor to form the government that didn’t take off on Thursday, even 24 hours after Hemant Soren submitted his resignation as the chief minister.

The two special flights that were set to move MLAs of the JMM-Congress coalition to Hyderabad also failed to take off from Ranchi.

From special buses stationed outside the Begumpet airport to room reservations in multiple hotels, all arrangements were made by the Telangana unit of the Congress to receive the JMM-led coalition’s MLAs for “safe-keeping” in Hyderabad.

After hours of delay, including inside the special aircraft, over 40 MLAs of the JMM-led alliance couldn’t take off for Hyderabad.

Owing to poor visibility and turbulent weather, the MLAs were de-boarded from their chartered flights and taken to a “safe house” in Ranchi.

Related: Hemant Soren, Jharkhand’s youngest CM, arrested by ED

The flights that never took off

Following a serious political crisis that has hit the JMM-led ruling coalition, following the arrest of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, efforts are being taken to shield MLAs from poaching attempts.

The JMM and Congress MLAs, who were to arrive in Hyderabad on Thursday night by two flights, will now have to wait till Friday in Ranchi for the weather to clear up.

Congress MLA and Jharkhand Health and Medical Education Minister Banna Gupta confirmed to South First that over 40 MLAs travelling with him waited inside the aircraft for over an hour before the flight was cancelled on Thursday night.

The MLAs boarded the flights, but the crew did not take off because of poor visibility.

The legislators were to arrive in Hyderabad in the afternoon. It was then postponed to evening as the weather remained inclement.

The pilots of the flights finally decided against taking off raising concerns over poor visibility.

Also read: Kerala Police arrest Jharkhand-based leader of banned PLFI

Preparations in Hyderabad

Anticipating the arrival of MLAs from Jharkhand, the ruling Congress in Telangana made arrangements at Leonia Hotel and Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad for their stay.

“We have made all arrangements for the legislators. We are ready at our end. As soon as they land in Hyderabad, they would be properly accommodated for as long as required,” Telangana Transport Minister Ponnam Prabhakar told South First.

A day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested Hemant Soren immediately after he resigned as chief minister of Jharkhand, ruling coalition MLAs were scheduled to move to Hyderabad.

Speaking to South First from the chartered plane, Banna Gupta said more than 40 MLAs in two flights were waiting to leave for Hyderabad.

“We have been waiting since afternoon. We have been sitting in the flight for over half an hour but it hasn’t taken off due to poor visibility,” he said before their flight was eventually cancelled.

Gupta added that at least eight MLAs of the coalition would stay back in Ranchi to oversee political developments.

“Nitish Kumar was allowed to resign and take oath again as the chief minister of Bihar within hours, but our plea of staking claim to form the government is being delayed unnecessarily,” he told South First.

Political crisis in Jharkhand

Political crisis has been rocking Jharkhand after incumbent chief minister Soren resigned on Wednesday night, followed by his detention by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

He was arrested moments after he submitted his resignation to Jharkhand Governor CP Radhakrishnan.

Champai Soren has now staked claim to form the government. The coalition’s 47 MLAs have released a video message firmly supporting Champai Soren as the chief minister. Yet the Governor has not invited him to form the government.

The coalition has 49 MLAs in the Jharkhand Assembly, which has a strength of 81. The coalition includes the JMM (29 MLAs), the Congress (17 MLAs), and the NCP, the RJD, and the Left (one each).

The ED arrested Hemant Soren over his alleged involvement in a land scam. This was the first time that the ED had detained and later arrested a serving chief minister.

Meanwhile, Soren moved the Supreme Court challenging his arrest by the ED even as ruling coalition MLAs were planning to be moved to Hyderabad by special flights.

Soren’s petition in the Supreme Court challenging his arrest by the ED will come up for hearing on Friday.

A JMM-led coalition delegation, after Soren resigned, met Governor CP Radhakrishnan and claimed that they had the support of 47 MLAs and urged him to invite Champai Soren, whom they had elected as their leader, to be sworn in as the chief minister.

Champai Soren is a confidant of Shibu Soren, father of Hemant Soren.