Another non-BJP chief minister was booed for the second time in three days at a government function attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was jeered by the audience in Ranchi as he began his speech at an event where Modi laid the foundation stone for six projects. This follows the August 19 function where the Congress CM of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, was hooted down by BJP supporters in Kaithal, after which he said he would not share the dais with the PM.
Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan, also of the Congress, too face similar ignominy and had announced on Wednesday that he would not be attending the PM’s event in Nagpur.
As soon as Soren, who heads the JMM coalition government in the state, started to speak extempore, the jeering began. BJP vice-president Raghubar Das was seen waving to the people asking them to calm down. This worked for a moment but after two minutes the crowd started chanting “Modi Modi” in what resembled PM’s poll meetings.
Soren, however, remained unfazed and told Modi, “If your government can help boost tourism in this state, we can end Naxalism without firing even one bullet.” But after a few faux pas — he began addressing Modi as “adhyaksh mahoday,” a term he uses to address the Speaker in the Assembly — the situation worsened. Towards the end of the 15-minute speech, some BJP MLAs were seen grinning at the CM’s plight.
Modi, who spoke after Soren, made no reference to the booing by the crowd. Angered by the hooting, Soren later termed it as “rape of democracy”, while his party demanded a public apology from Modi, threatening to boycott all events with Union ministers. “The unseemly and disrespectful approach during my speech is rape of the democratic system,” Soren was quoted as saying by the PTI. “It’s an insult to the state and its people,” he said.
Deepu Sebastian Edmond