In a major political development, Hemant Soren, Chief Minister of Jharkhand, resigned on Wednesday, January 31, and is currently in the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) custody. Following his resignation, JMM MLAs have elected state minister Champai Soren, his brother, as the leader of the legislative party, paving the way for him to become the new Chief Minister.
Hemant Soren has been facing questioning by the ED in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam. This development marks a significant shift in the state’s political landscape.
“The CM is in ED custody. The CM has gone to the Governor with the ED team to submit his resignation… Champai Soren will be the new Chief Minister… We have enough numbers,” JMM MP Mahua Maji told reporters.
JMM MLAs held a meeting and went to the Raj Bhavan to apprise Governor CP Radhakrishnan of their decision. JMM heads a coalition government in the state which also includes Congress.
“We have chosen Champai Soren as the leader of the Legislative Party. We came to the Raj Bhawan to request the Governor for the oath ceremony,” JMM leader and state minister Banna Gupta told reporters. Earlier in the day, a team of ED officials arrived at the residence of Hemant Soren for questioning in the alleged land scam.
There was heavy police deployment around the Chief Minister’s residence in Ranchi. Section 144 was imposed within a radius of 100 metres outside the CM’s residence, Raj Bhavan and the ED office, amid the anticipation of protests, rallies, and processions by the workers of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) over the action of the central probe agency.
The JMM workers had earlier gathered at Morabadi ground against the ED’s action and raised slogans. On Monday, January 29, officials from the ED visited Soren’s residence in Delhi to question him. The central agency seized two cars and Rs 36 lakh but did not find the JMM leader.
Later, Soren, in a letter to the Enforcement Directorate, said he would record his statement before the agency officials at 1 pm at his residence in Ranchi.