Security measures were significantly heightened around Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren's residence as officials from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrived to question him in connection with a land scam case as per a report by Hindustan Times.
The ED's scrutiny has sparked concerns about potential disruptions to law and order, prompting the imposition of Section 144 in the vicinity of Soren's residence.
In a preemptive move, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) staged a show of strength, with MLAs assembling at the Chief Minister's residence on Kanke Road.
Jharkhand government has also formed a three-member team headed by the finance department secretary to maintain order in the state during the ED questioning.
Soren's recent activities have added intrigue to the unfolding political drama. Reports indicate that he took a 1,300 km road trip to Ranchi amid ED searches, while the BJP labelled him a 'fugitive' after he was reportedly incommunicado for around 30 hours.
As a precautionary measure, the JMM has prepared for potential scenarios that may arise if Soren is arrested. Ahead of the scheduled questioning, Hemant Soren convened a meeting with leaders from both the JMM and Congress.
In the event of Soren's potential arrest today (31 January), there are indications that his wife, Kalpana Soren, could emerge as the likely successor for the position of chief minister.
Alternatively, Champai Soren, the current state transport minister, is considered as the second choice for the chief ministerial post.
According to a report from Business Today, JMM MLAs have officially expressed their support for Kalpana Soren's candidacy through a signed letter during the aforementioned meeting.
Hemant Soren obtained the signatures of JMM MLAs on two blank documents during another meeting on Wednesday (31 January). These documents are believed to be letters of support for the potential chief ministerial candidates, Kalpana Soren and Champai Soren.
It is suggested that one of these letters may be presented to the Governor in the event of Hemant Soren's apprehension.
JMM MLA Sarfaraz Ahmad's earlier resignation is seen as paving the way for Kalpana's potential ascension.
Amid the uncertainty, Hemant Soren also met his father, Shibu Soren, on Wednesday morning.
JMM MP Mahua Maji accused the Central Government and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of conspiring to destabilise non-BJP-ruled states.
Earlier this week, the ED seized two BMW cars and Rs 36 lakh from Hemant Soren's Delhi residence.
Meanwhile BJP MP Nishikant Dubey accused Soren of attempting to pressure Jharkhand high court judges to evade ED questioning. JMM leaders have downplayed the financial recovery, stating that Rs 36 lakh is not a significant amount for a party chief.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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