For Jharkhand’s Ruling Coalition MLAs, At Resort, Special Phones: Sources

Jharkhand crisis: Hemant Soren is facing disqualification as an MLA. (File)

Jharkhand’s ruling coalition has sequestered its MLAs at a resort in Congress-ruled Chhattisgarh, accusing the BJP of trying to poach the lawmakers in an attempt to bring down the crisis-hit Hemant Soren government.

MLAs of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Congress arrived yesterday at the Mayfair Hotel in Raipur, which has established itself as the ideal hideout when any Congress government has wobbled.

Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel visited the resort and had dinner with the MLAs.

Recently, the Congress put up its MLAs from Assam and Haryana at this resort to prevent defections during the Rajya Sabha election.

The Mayfair is a sprawling resort with a 100-acre campus that features villas and a golf course.

It is not known how long the stakeout will last. Reporters took a hint from a notice put up at the gates, which said the golf course would be shut for maintenance for a week.

A heavy contingent of Chhattisgarh policemen have been posted at and around the resort.

The MLAs have not been seen much since they checked into the resort. They have been given special phones and are in touch with Chhattisgarh ministers, say sources.

The MLAs left Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s home in Ranchi in two buses and were taken to the airport, where a chartered flight was on standby. Video footage showed Mr Soren at the airport to see them off.

The Hemant Soren government in Jharkhand is in flux since the Election Commission reportedly recommended the disqualification of the Chief Minister to the state Governor.

Mr Soren is facing disqualification as an MLA after the BJP moved a plea alleging he violated election rules by extending a mining lease to himself. The party says he should resign “on moral grounds” and make way for fresh elections.

Mr Soren’s party JMM fears the BJP may seize the chance to poach MLAs of the ruling coalition and overturn the elected government, in the same pattern as in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

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