In Parliament, Mallikarjun Kharge Vs Piyush Goyal On Jharkhand, Nitish Kumar

Jharkhand's ruling JMM is a member of the INDIA opposition bloc that is chaired by the Congress.

In Parliament, Mallikarjun Kharge Vs Piyush Goyal On Jharkhand, Nitish Kumar
New Delhi:

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal shouted down each other in the Rajya Sabha today, trading jabs over the political crises in Bihar and Jharkhand.

The Congress leader got the ball rolling by pointing out the oath-taking of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Champai Soren, completed this afternoon, had been delayed by nearly 48 hours, while that of Janata Dal (United) boss Nitish Kumar was completed in less than a quarter of that time.

"Nitish Kumarji gave his resignation with one hand and, with the other, took his oath. Why wasn't this done... why wasn't this done in Jharkhand," he asked amid yelling by MPs from both sides.

The reference was to JDU boss Nitish Kumar's dramatic jump - his second in as many years - from the opposition, in this case the Congress-led INDIA bloc, to the BJP-led NDA.

READ | Nitish Kumar Exits INDIA, To Be Sworn In For 9th Time, 2 Oaths In 2 Years

"They (referring to Jharkhand Governor CP Radhakrishnan) didn't even make an announcement (on naming Mr Soren as a caretaker Chief Minister to ensure the functioning of government). When a list (of supporting MLAs) is given you should at least call for a vote of confidence," Mr Kharge said.

READ | Champai Soren Takes Oath As Jharkhand Chief Minister

The Congress leader also flagged the fact Hemant Soren - who stepped down minutes before he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on money laundering charges - had named his successor, and that the nominee - Champai Soren - had the support of a majority of the Assembly.

"Nearly 43 MLAs signed... plus four others outside..."

READ | Jharkhand MLAs' Roll Call Video Shown To Governor As Proof

"We are all in politics... we know the phrase 'till alternate arrangements can be made'. But even that was not done," the Congress leader said, questioning the drama in Jharkhand this week.

Mr Goyal declared Mr Kharge's words were "proof... the party has corruption in its DNA".

"I am surprised... there is so much corruption in Jharkhand. The way in which the Chief Minister amassed land... there is so much proof. But still that Chief Minister is defended by the Congress."

READ | Hemant Soren In 5-Day Custody, No Help From Supreme Court

"This itself shows corruption is in the Congress DNA. The Governor was making sure everything was in order... that all those who signed the list really supported Champai Soren," he explained.

Mr Goyal then took a swipe at the Congress, saying, "It is not like Congress, which gave a list of MLAs and forged their signatures." He was referring to the BJP's 2018 allegations - that the Congress forged signatures of MLAs in a letter to the Governor claiming support to form the government.

The arrest of Hemant Soren and delays over the swearing-in of Champai Soren, who had been picked by the ruling JMM-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance as the new Chief Minister, played out in Parliament today, with the opposition walking out of both Houses in support of Hemant Soren.

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