RANCHI, Nov 17 (PTI): Thousands of JMM workers from across Jharkhand gathered in Ranchi on Thursday to show solidarity with chief minister Hemant Soren, who is facing questioning from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case linked to alleged illegal mining in the state.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha supporters, holding placards bearing messages such as ‘ED, CBI ka durupayog bandh karo’ (stop misuse of ED, and CBI’) and ‘Hemant Soren zindabad’, assembled at Ranchi’s Morabadi Ground and marched towards the CM house.
They raised slogans against the BJP and the central agencies.
“The Hemant Soren government is being harassed by the opposition through the central agencies. We came here to support our chief minister,” said JMM supporter Sukumar Munda, who came from Garhwa.
Another party worker Ramesh Hembrom said, “Our chief minister is working for the welfare of the people of Jharkhand, and the opposition is using the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation to create obstacles on his way.”
Meanwhile, legislators from the JMM and its partners-the Congress and the RJD- in the UPA also gathered at CM’s House to show their unity and solidarity.
The UPA legislators in the state were asked to stay at the CM’s residence till he returns from the ED office.
Congress ministers Alamgir Alam, Badal Patralekh and Rameshwar Oraon and several other leaders also addressed the gathering from a temporary stage built outside the CM’s house.
The party functionaries and MLAs said that they would be staying at the CM house till the return of their leader from the ED office.
Senior Congress leader and state finance minister Rameshwar Oraon said, “The CM is being harassed and we all know this. I know Hemant Soren personally. He is innocent.”
He said the UPA government will protest against any conspiracy by the opposition and the JMM-led dispensation will complete its five-year term.
Alamgir Alam said, “The opposition is hatching a conspiracy to topple the Hemant Soren government. But, their plan will fall flat.”
Reacting to JMM supporters’ protest, the BJP said that the chief minister is “trying to influence the investigation”.
“Commuters are facing hardships due to traffic snarls across the city as workers hit the streets. This is nothing but an act by the chief minister to influence the investigation. The CM was just summoned by the central agency for questioning. But, he is treating himself as an accused in the case,” BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said.
Security has been beefed up at the ED office in Ranchi in a bid to avoid any untoward incident.
The Ranchi administration has imposed section 144 on a stretch of 500 metres from Hinoo Chowk to Green Acres, where the ED office is located.