Speculation is rife in Jharkhand’s political circles that a few JMM MLAs may quit their assembly seats and seek a political future in the Congress in what is being seen as a “ reverse operation in the ruling JMM.
 
This comes at a time when the fate of Hemant Soren hangs in balance. Already an MLA of the ruling JMM Sarfaraz Ahmad has resigned from the legislative assembly. 

His resignation was accepted by the Assembly Speaker. His resignation takes place two days after the ED issued the 7th summon to CM Hemant Soren on Friday, asking him to appear before it at the place and date of his choice, in connection with his questioning in money laundering connected with land scam in Ranchi and illegal mining in Sahebgunj areas of the state. 

Insiders say Soren is trying to explore ways to get out of the ED and CBI’s net. “ Apart from contacting legal experts, the move was afoot to look for an alternative measure to continue to govern”, said a JMM leader on condition of anonymity.

As Soren’s fate hangs in the balance, Sarfaraz Ahmad who represented the Gandey constituency in 1980, can re-join Congress. 

Prior to this, he was the Congress MLA in 2009. He had changed gears and joined the JMM only to contest the Assembly poll from the same constituency and won it on the JMM ticket in 2019.  

Prior to Sarfaraz, Kamlesh Kumar Singh, the lone Jharkhand MLA from the Ajit Pawar faction of the NCP on November 1, had kicked the so-called I.N.D.I.A coalition backing JMM-led government in Jharkhand.  

With the departure of these two MLAs, the strength of the I.N.D.I.A coalition government led by CM Soren has gone down to 47 from 49 MLAs. 

Of the 81 members of the Jharkhand Assembly, the JMM had 30 MLAs, supported by 17 MLAs from the Congress and one MLA from the RJD and NCP each. This means it had the support of 49 MLAs.  

What impact their resignations will have on the ruling coalition led by CM Soren remains to be seen. However, the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party is far behind the ruling coalition as it has 26 members, while its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) has three MLAs and the Left has two. The remaining one MLA is independent.

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