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Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren Sparks Controversy


Sparking a controversy with his remarks yet again, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, while addressing a public rally in Ramgarh district on Friday, advised tribals and the poor to keep their money in sacks, plastics and boxes and bury them under the ground instead of depositing in banks.

The Ramgarh assembly seat will soon see by-elections, with Bajrang Mahto as the candidate from Soren’s party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

Soren, during the rally for his candidate, also lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleging the “biggest scam of independent India has happened in the Modi government”. “The country’s economy has collapsed. We don’t know which bank will sink when,” he said.

THE STATEMENT

“From the very beginning, I have told farmers and labourers from villages and countryside that you should not deposit your money in the bank, because the banks are continuously running into losses. Fill the money in plastic and bury it in the ground, but don’t keep it in the bank. Never know when the bankers will run away with your money. Earlier, the elders did the same thing. At least they used to get the amount they kept. If you get only as much as you have deposited today, it is enough,” he said, targeting the Central government and describing the condition of the banks as unpredictable.

‘CORRUPT CM’; ‘DUTY TO MAKE PEOPLE AWARE’

Speaking exclusively with CNN-News18, former chief minister Raghubar Das said, “Since the Hemant government has come to power, there is a loot in land resources, natural resources and ‘Jal Jungle Zameen’. Illegal sand and coal mining is rampant. Obviously when black money will come, it would be hidden beneath the ground. He is the head of corrupt people, so he is giving such statements. Such remarks are unconstitutional from a chief minister.”

Slamming the Centre over the Adani issue, cabinet minister Mithilesh Thakur said, “It is the duty of our leader to make people aware of the country’s condition where no institutions are secured. I support the statement of our chief minister. By burying money, he meant that people should spend their hard-earned money wisely and keep it safe.”

BJP HITS BACK

Babulal Marandi, Leader of Opposition, Jharkhand, tweeted, “Mr. Hemant Soren, the list of your crimes is so long that you may not even remember yourself. Wherever the investigating agencies put their hands, the door of black money is reaching you. There is hardly any sector left which you have not looted?In such a situation, how long will you survive by repeatedly calling out to the tribals?”

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey tweeted a letter of reply on Soren’s comments. Dubey said that “only those who steal money hide it underground”.

Listing out the various schemes of the Centre aimed at financial inclusion, Dubey said the “Centre waived 97 lakh mudra loans and 4.83 lakh people received 2,350 crore in 2022-23 via Direct Beneficiary Transfer or DBT”. Dubey further stated that there are 1.62 crore Jan Dhan Yojana beneficiaries in Jharkhand.

The BJP MP also claimed that when people compare PM Modi and Hemant Soren, they will know that PM Modi is involved in development works, while Soren is rooted in corruption.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had earlier this month slammed the JMM-led mahagathbandhan government. Addressing his party’s Vijay Sankalp rally at Deoghar, after laying the foundation stone of a nano fertilizer plant on February 4, Shah had accused Soren of not acting against illegal immigrants from Bangladesh due to vote bank politics and described his government as the “most corrupt” in the country.

“Hemant Soren should listen to this with open ears. I have no hesitation is saying that the government running in Jharkhand is the most corrupt government in the country running now… some people make illegal money using their hands when they become ministers and chief ministers. But this government is using tractors and rail wagon for corruption,” said Shah.

CONTROVERSY’s FAVOURITE

This is not the first time that Soren has made controversial remarks.

“Incidents keep happening,” was what Soren had said to the media after a minor tribal girl was found hanging on a tree and another minor girl was burnt to death in Dumka district of Jharkhand.

When questioned about billionaire IAS and close aide Pooja Singhal’s arrest, he had waved his hand and whistled at the media.

SOREN VERSUS GOVERNOR

In March last year, then governor Ramesh Bias had asked the Election Commission (EC) for its opinion on Soren’s disqualification as an MLA for acquiring a mining lease in his name. Bais had maintained a studied silence, as the EC reportedly submitted its opinion last August.

Another twist was seen on January 28 this year. Bais returned the domicile bill piloted by the Soren government to set 1932 as the cut-off year for determining domicile status in the state. The Soren government had got the bill passed in the Jharkhand Assembly in November last year. The move was seen as Soren’s masterstroke in the face of political and legal challenges. As the chief minister is faced with the risk of losing his assembly membership, the bill was expected to consolidate his support base among the tribals of Jharkhand.

CP Radhakrishnan is now the new governor of Jharkhand.

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