Here’s What Hemant Soren reacts to ‘sealed’ EC report recommending his disqualification

According to Election Commission sources, difficulties are increasing for Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren as the Election Commission today recommended that the Chief Minister be disqualified as an MLA for violating electoral law by giving himself a mining lease.

The Election Commission is said to have sent its recommendations to Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais in a sealed cover this morning following the disqualification petition. The Governor of Jharkhand had referred the matter to the Election Commission.

Hemant Soren, however, denied the claims of disqualification and issued a statement saying, “Several media reports were conveyed about the ECI sending a report to the Governor of Jharkhand ‘recommencing disqualification as an MLA’. The CMO has not received any letter from the Election Commission or the Governor in this regard.

The Chief Minister also said, “It appears that BJP leaders including a BJP MP and his puppet journalists have themselves drafted the ECI report, which is otherwise a sealed cover report. This blatant misuse of constitutional authorities and public agencies and this shamefully complete takeover by the BJP headquarters at Deendayal Upadhyay Marg is unseen in Indian democracy.

The prime petitioner in the case – the BJP – has sought Soren’s disqualification for violating Section 9A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which deals with disqualification for government contracts.

It has also been argued in the petition that under Article 192 of the Constitution, if any question arises as to whether a member of the House of the Legislature of a State has become subject to any disqualification, the question shall be referred to the Governor whose decision shall be final.

The hearing in the mining lease case, in which the BJP has accused Hemant Soren, began earlier this month. On August 12, Soren’s legal team completed its arguments before the Election Commission, following which the petitioner in the case, BJP, responded. On August 18, both sides submitted their written arguments to the Election Commission.

The BJP has put pressure on Soren, accusing him of misusing his position for personal gain. The BJP has also alleged that Soren’s act is in violation of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which may result in his resignation. The JMM, however, hit back saying that mere ownership of the mining lease does not come under the office of profit as the mine was not operational.