- The ceremony also saw Congress’ Alam, Oraon and RJD’s Bhogta take oath as ministers in the state cabinet
- This is the second time that Soren has taken oath as the chief minister of the tribal state
NEW DELHI : Hemant Soren, working president of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), took oath as the 11th chief minister of the state on Sunday in a swearing-in ceremony in Ranchi that was a show of strength by Opposition parties.
This is the second time that Soren, 44, has taken oath as the chief minister of the state. The JMM-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alliance won 47 of the 81 seats in the assembly elections, with the JMM winning 30. The coalition government also has the support of other parties in the assembly, including the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), which won three seats.
Alamgir Alam and Rameshwar Oraon of the Congress and Satyanand Bhogta, the lone RJD legislator, also took oath along with Soren, who has been credited with stitching together the alliance and keeping it together through the election.
The ceremony on Sunday was attended by former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M.K. Stalin, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banarjee, senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Communist Party of India general secretary D. Raja and senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh, as well as Congress chief ministers from Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, Ashok Gehlot and Bhupesh Baghel.
Former chief minister Raghubar Das of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also attended the ceremony.
“I attended the swearing in ceremony of CM Hemant Soren Ji and ministers from the Congress party in Ranchi today. I’m confident that the new government in Jharkhand will work for the benefit of all citizens and usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the state,” Gandhi said on Twitter.
This is the second instance after Maharashtra where the Congress has formed a government as a junior partner. In 2018, the party won the assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh where it was in a direct contest with the BJP.
This show of unity comes just ahead of the key states of Delhi and Bihar going to polls in 2020. In Bihar, the Congress is in alliance with regional giant RJD while in Delhi, it takes on the Aam Aadmi Party led by incumbent chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, as well as the BJP.
“People were satisfied with the work being done by the previous government but not with the government as there was a perception of it being arrogant. This new government, while ensuring that work continues, has to associate itself with novel programmes. Soren will also have to look at resource mobilization to finance projects of the state government,” said Harishwar Dayal, an economist and political analyst from Ranchi who is also the state coordinator of the Lokniti programme of the New Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.
“This election is also an opportunity for Opposition parties. It will boost them for future elections. There were leaders from all ideologies in attendance today at the ceremony. This election is a good opportunity for Jharkhand as politics in the state is becoming mature, from fractured mandates, to the last government completing its term and this pre-poll alliance getting a majority,” he said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register for Citizens, before taking oath, Soren said, “I don’t think NRC is feasible or implementable. The entire country is up in arms against CAA. This is happening while our country is going through an economic crisis. We can’t make people stand in queue again like the way it happened during demonetization. Many people lost their lives. What’s the need of such acts? Who will take responsibility for the lives lost? Even in these protests, the government is quelling dissent through police force. This is not democracy, it’s something else.”