Congress general secretary in charge of Jharkhand Avinash Pande is at it yet again. He is apparently antagonising not only chief minister Hemant Soren, but even his own party colleagues from the state.
While Soren is taking all steps to keep his flock together, Pande is busy keeping the chief minister on the edge. Soren has secured the support of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and, even, Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR). Apart from that, Soren also has the support of the two Congress governments in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. Interestingly, he has decided not to shift his Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislators out of the state and urged his alliance partners to do the same.
Perhaps, Soren wanted to send a message that all the legislators are intact and thwart all efforts of poaching. Besides that, he also sought to keep a check on the movements of the legislators who could easily be managed, if lodged at one place.
This is precisely what happened in Rajasthan when Sachin Pilot revolted against chief minister Ashok Gehlot who later gathered all his supporting legislators in one hotel on the outskirts of Jaipur. That way, he was able to keep an eye on them. Coincidentally, Pande was then the party’s general secretary in charge of Rajasthan and had to be removed from the post after Pilot ended his revolt and listed his removal as one of his key demands. The Congress’s high command promptly obliged.
After RPN Singh joined the BJP, Pande was given the responsibility of Jharkhand and since then, he has had frequent run-ins with Soren.
On Saturday, Pande contradicted the chief minister and insisted that the Congress legislators will take orders from the party high command and not him, sending a conflicting signal.
Soren has now conveyed to the Congress leadership about Pande’s style of functioning. Jharkhand Congress leaders too have endorsed Soren’s moves.