RANCHI: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Wednesday drew parallels between Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Centre's "use of agencies to destabilise a democratically elected government", asserting that he would not kowtow under pressure.
Soren, who in the midst of an office-of-profit controversy, also said that he would give a befitting reply to the BJP-led Centre, "just like Ukraine had been responding to Russia's offensive".
"The way the Centre had been spreading propaganda, using agencies to destabilise a democratially elected state government in Jharkhand, it can be compared to Russia's military action to demilitarize and wipeout Ukraine. Russia had thought it could knock down Ukraine in a day or two, but look how Ukraine is staging a counter-offensive, with the war going on for three months now," Soren said.
If the Centre thinks it can destabilise a democratically elected government by creating a "false narrative", it is grossly mistaken, he asserted. "We are going to fight...I will not kowtow or run away like a coward," Soren said.
The CM has been asked to furnish reply to Election Commission as to why he should not be disqualified for holding an "office of profit" by granting a mining lease in his favour.
He had sought four weeks to furnish a reply to the notice, but the poll panel has given him just 10 days.
"The allegations against me are unfounded, false and fabricated. The mining lease issue is an old matter, which was duly declared by me in election affidavits way back in 2007," Soren said, seeking to know "why did the BJP wake up from slumber all of sudden".
The CM pointed out legal opinion is in his favour and it is unlikely that he would be disqualified as MLA. "This is a ploy by the BJP to thwart development work in the state. The saffron party's ulterior motives are not unknown to anyone. All throughout, the Centre had meted out a step-motherly treatment to the poor state, exploited its mineral resources," he claimed.
Hitting out at the Centre over the dues pending from coal PSUs, Soren reiterated that the state was going through an economic crisis, and the BJP-led Union government, despite being told about it, was "maintaining silence over the matter, rather creating obstacles for the state".
"Non-payment of Rs 1.36 lakh crore by the coal companies is impacting the socio-economic development projects in the fund-starved state," he stated.
Soren had earlier warned the Centre that it would stop coal supply to the PSUs if the dues were not cleared.
In a letter to the Centre recently, he underlined, "Jharkhand is a mineral-rich state and proceedings from coal is the main contributor (80 per cent) to its exchequer."