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Hemant Soren to Return as Jharkhand CM

Hemant Soren to Return as Jharkhand CM

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NEW DELHI, July 3: The stage is set for the former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren to take back the mantle of the state again with him being elected the leader of the INDIA bloc legislature party and the incumbent chief minister and his close aide Champai Soren submitting his resignation to the governor CP Radhakrishnan on Wednesday.

Champai Soren, who is seen as the number three in the ruling party the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, was sworn in on February 2, two days after then chief minister Hemant Soren resigned hours before he was arrested on January 31 by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with an alleged land scam. He was released on bail on June 28 by the Jharkhand High Court which noted that there was reason to believe that he was “not guilty of the offence.”

After handing over his resignation to Jharkhand Governor CP Radhakrishnan on Wednesday evening, Champai Soren, who was earlier reported to be upset over being asked to leave the post, said in Hindi, “When the leadership had changed, I was given responsibility. You know the sequence of events. After Hemant Soren came back, we (the coalition) picked him as our leader and I have resigned. I am following the decision taken by the coalition.”

Asked when he would take oath, Hemant Soren, who was standing next to Champai Soren, said more details would be given later.

Jharkhand is ruled by a coalition consisting of the JMM, Congress, RJD and the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation. The JMM has 27 MLAs in the 81-member Assembly, the Congress has 18 and the RJD and the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation have one each. The BJP has 24 members in the state Assembly.

Earlier on Wednesday, the JMM had elected Hemant Soren as the legislature party leader, paving the way for him to take over as chief minister. The move defied a very strong buzz that Champai Soren would retain the post and Hemant Soren would return as chief minister only after the Jharkhand Assembly elections due later this year, if the coalition won.

Sources had had earlier claimed that Champai Soren, who is likely to be named the JMM’s Executive President, was upset at being asked to resign as chief minister and had said at the party meeting that he was feeling insulted. However, before the media persons he did not show any discomfort over the decision.

Leaders of the ruling coalition reached a consensus on Hemant Soren’s return during a meeting at Champai Soren’s residence. Among the attendees were Congress’ Jharkhand in-charge Ghulam Ahmad Mir, state president Rajesh Thakur and Hemant Soren’s wife and MLA Kalpana Soren.

Sources said the decision was taken to ensure that the elections were fought with Hemant Soren as the face of the party. “Yes, we want Mr Soren to take oath as CM of the State sooner than later but, it all depends on the Governor for the invitation,” a JMM MLA said. Mr Soren would take oath as Chief Minister of Jharkhand for the third time after July 2013 and December 2019.

It was, however, for the first time since Mr Soren’s release from Jail on June 28, that he had called an all-party meeting of MLAs of alliance partners. Current Chief Minister Champai Soren, who is set to be “upset” over the move, which he, later, denied, is likely to be given a new responsibility as the chairman of the INDIA bloc coordination committee in the State or, executive president of the JMM.

After Mr Soren was sent to jail, his wife Kalpana Soren plunged into politics and became party MLA from Gandey constituency defeating BJP candidate Dilip Kumar Verma in a by-poll by over 26, 000 votes. Gandey Assembly seat in Giridih district of the State had fallen vacant following resignation of JMM MLA Sarfaraj Ahmad.

Hemant Siren’s estranged sister-in-law Sita Soren, who had joined the BJP ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and contested the elections unsuccessfully from Dumka seat, reacted over Mr Soren becoming Chief Minister again. “Changing CM’s face will not get any benefit,” she quipped. Earlier, BJP spokesperson Vinay Singh had said, “It is clear that once a dynast, always a dynast. The momentary transition of power to Champai Soren was nothing but a façade created to look democratic. However, they (the Shibu Soren family) will never let power go outside the family.”

(Manas Dasgupta)



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