JMM MLA quits, BJP sniffs plan to make Hemant Soren’s wife new Jharkhand CM

RANCHI: A three-time JMM MLA resigned unexpectedly from the Jharkhand assembly within hours of CM Hemant Soren ignoring a seventh ED summons in the Ranchi land scam case, leading BJP to predict Monday the latter would step down and have his wife Kalpana Soren take over the chief ministership via the vacated Gandey seat.
Sarfaraz Ahmad, 64, provided grist for speculation by giving up his assembly membership without citing a reason.Speaker Rabindranath Mahto, who accepted the resi gnation, said Monday, “Given Ahmed’s seniority, I didn’t find it suitable to seek an explanation for him quitting.”

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The assembly secretariat notified Gandey was vacated with effect from December 31.
Ahmad did not respond to calls and messages from this reporter.
BJP’s Godda MP Nishikant Dubey posted on X that the MLA’s resignation was meant to prepare for a forced change at the helm. “When chief minister Hemant Soren resigns from the post, Kalpana Soren would be the next CM. The new year will be painful for the Soren family,” he wrote.
JMM general secretary and spokesperson Vinod Kumar Pandey claimed the party was unaware of the reason for the Gandey MLA’s exit. “Only Ahmad will be able to answer it,” he said.
Gandey is an unreserved assembly seat, which explains why BJP thinks Ahmad vacating it i s a move designed to create an opening for the CM’s wife.
In December, a BJP worker challenged in court the election of Soren’s sister-inlaw Sita from the ST-reserved Jama assembly seat in Dumka district, pointing out that her roots were in Odisha and hence couldn’t be officially treated as a tribal Jharkhand native.

ED summons Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren in alleged land scam, asks him to appear on Dec 12

By the same token, Kalpana is ineligible to contest a reserved seat, sources said. Independent MLA Saryu Roy, who was previously with BJP, said, “This speculation could soon turn out to be true. If the government changes in Jharkhand, then the Gandey seat will remain vacant for a newcomer. The gentleman and friend (of Soren) from Gandey will grace the Rajya Sabha.”
Soren faced a 48-hour deadline until Sunday to respond to the ED summons issued on December 29, coinciding with the fourth anniversary of the JMM-led coalition government. The agency had asked Soren to decide on a venue of his convenience for questioning by that time since he had been citing his engagements as CM for not responding to repeated summonses. The CM was first summoned in the land scam case, which led to the arrest of former Ranchi district collector Chhavi Ranjan, on August 14. He m oved the S Cfor a stay, but the petition wasstruck down.

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