Shibu Soren- a case of political shamelessness
The defeat of the Jharkhand Chief Minister from Tamar seat which became vacant after its Janata Dal (United) MLA Ramesh Singh Munda was killed by unidentified gunmen on July 9, 2008 on January 8 to a political upstart has begun a fresh debate on public posturing, political conscience and probity/ responsiveness in public life.
As is known to one and all Shibu Soren lost the seat by a margin of more than 9000 votes. This is possibly only the third instance in Indian democracy when a sitting Chief minister has lost his seat. This becomes all the more crucial because Soren was not a member of the State assembly and he needed to get into the Assembly as per the Constitutional requirements.
The relevant provisions on this issue are present in Part VI (The States) Chapter II (The Executive) has Article 164 whose clause 4 clearly says that a Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister.
Soren had become the Chief Minister on August 27, 2007 and thus his six months expire on February 27. Anyway, with this loss Soren has lost all the chances of getting into the Assembly in the required time and thus legally, logically and ethically he should have resigned immediately. But what does this man do - he simply gives a blank look to every correspondent that comes to him, staring in the vacuum and saying that he would decide over things after having met with the higher ups of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in New Delhi. This clearly means that he would make a last-moment concerted effort to save himself and to continue remaining in the seat- by hook or by crook. With no morality left in politics and no remorse, no decency and no gentlemanliness, this is the latest visible drama of the worst kind where there is a free for all for everyone.
While Soren might finally have to resign but he would possibly try to get one of his own persons installed as the Chief minister (CM) and getting himself relocated back in the Union cabinet. Secondly, he might even stoop lower and say that he would resign from the post of CM and would then get back to the seat once again after some time, thus gaining another 6 months time to get elected to the assembly. The law seems a bit silent on this issue and he might try to take some advantage of this loophole. It might look too crass and cheap but does a leader like Soren, who is one of the true representatives of Indian politics, seem to be worried about such things. All that matters to him is power and like all the rest he would go all out for it- adopting all possible means and nefarious measures.
Look at the obstinacy and shamelessness of this man who instead of feeling ashamed was trying to show himself in complete control of the situation, all the time saying that he would take a decision on his resignation only after meeting the UPA leadership at the Centre. This was the same Soren who had earlier compelled Madhu Koda, another wonder of the Indian political democratic jamboree who became the first independent Chief minister of any state and ruled for nearly 2 years with the support of a plethora of parties and individuals to resign.
To understand Indian politics, it would be interesting going through the life and times of Shibu Soren- another rags to riches game. He who was born in an ordinary tribal family later rose to dizzy heights. He has been a member of the Parliament many a times and has also been a Union Cabinet minister more than once and even got his life-time ambition of becoming the Chief minister fulfilled when he reached this coveted post firstly for a few days and then second time on August 27.
But the long career of this temperamental leader has also been replete with all kinds of controversies which are illustrative of the malaise the Indian political structure is facing in the post-independence period. While the latest of these is this defeat but even before this, Soren has often been in news for wrong reasons. He had been convicted by a Delhi district court in the murder of his private secretary Shashi Nath Jha in 1994 and awarded life term which was later set aside by the Delhi High Court in August, 2007 on some technical grounds. Yet another murder case in which he is an accused in the Chirudih case of 23 January 1975 where ten people were killed in a violent attack led by him. This case came haunting him nearly 30 years later in 2004 when an arrest warrant forced him to resign from the Union Cabinet. But look at the impunity of this person who after having secured bail after spending over a month in judicial custody forced the present UPA government to re-induct him into the Cabinet and was given back the same coal ministry. Soon, there was the Jharkhand state elections in 2005. After the results he became the CM for nine days and then resigned after his failure to obtain a vote of confidence in the assembly.
Soren has also earned nation-wide notoriety for his alleged role in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) case where there was a reported deal between the Congress and the JMM to save the then Narasimha Rao government during the July 1993 no-confidence motion.
And despite all these badges of honour, the man remains completely unperturbed, undisturbed and unaffected as if these are part of a politician’s required bio-data.
He believes in the dictum- “Might is right” and will remain here as long as he has his sway over his people, the poor lot who don’t usually know who to choose between the two devils.
Dr Nutan Thakur
(The author is the Editor of Nutan Satta Pravah)
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