Jharkhand CM Champai Soren resigns, Hemant Soren stakes claim to govt

At a meeting at Champai Soren’s residence, JMM-led alliance leaders unanimously elected Hemant Soren as JMM legislature party leader

Jharkhand governor C.P. Radhakrishnan flanked by Hemant and Champai Soren (photo: PTI)
Jharkhand governor C.P. Radhakrishnan flanked by Hemant and Champai Soren (photo: PTI)


Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren resigned on Wednesday and Hemant Soren, who is out on bail in a money laundering case, staked claim to form the government, hours after leaders of the JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha)-led alliance in the state unanimously elected him as the legislature party leader.

Champai Soren, who had taken oath as the 12th chief minister of Jharkhand on 2 February after Hemant Soren's arrest, met governor C.P. Radhakrishnan and tendered his resignation in the presence of the JMM executive president, capping a day full of speculation.

"I have resigned as per the decision of the JMM-led alliance. Our alliance is strong," Champai Soren said after coming out of Raj Bhavan. "Everyone knows what happened with Hemant Soren ji... I was given the responsibility by the coalition partners. Now, the alliance has decided in favour of Hemant Soren ji," he said.

During a meeting at Champai Soren’s residence in Ranchi, leaders and MLAs of the alliance unanimously decided to elect Hemant Soren as the JMM legislature party leader, sources said. "A decision was taken in the meeting to make Hemant Soren the chief minister of the state again," a party source told PTI.

Congress's Jharkhand in-charge Ghulam Ahmad Mir and its state president Rajesh Thakur also attended the meeting, besides Hemant Soren's brother Basant and wife Kalpana. If sworn in, Hemant Soren will be the 13th chief minister of Jharkhand, which was carved out of Bihar on 15 November 2000.

Hemant Soren was released from jail on 28 June after nearly five months, after the high court granted him bail in a money-laundering case linked to an alleged land scam. He had resigned as CM shortly before his arrest on 31 January.

Official sources in New Delhi said the Enforcement Directorate is soon expected to approach the Supreme Court with an SLP against the Jharkhand High Court order that granted bail to Hemant Soren. The ED is likely to challenge the 28 June order passed by the single bench of justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay, stating that the court's belief that the petitioner (Soren) is "not guilty" was erroneous and the accused does not satisfy the twin conditions as required under section 45 of the PMLA, sources said.

Meanwhile, in a post on X, BJP MP Nishikant Dubey said, "The Champai Soren era is over in Jharkhand. In the family-oriented party, people outside the family have no political future. I wish the chief minister drew inspiration from Bhagwan Birsa Munda and stood up against the corrupt Hemant Soren ji."

Jharkhand BJP president Babulal Marandi asserted that the tribals outside Shibu Soren’s family (Hemant is a son of Shibu Soren) are only temporary faces in JMM. That family believes in using people as per their needs and requirements, he alleged. Marandi alleged that the real face of JMM, which had talked about rising above nepotism and electing a new chief minister five months ago, has once again been exposed.

He claimed that the "tiger of Kolhan", as Champai Soren is known in political circles, has been turned into a mouse today.

While Jharkhand can have 12 ministers, the state Cabinet at present has a strength of 10. After the Lok Sabha elections, the strength of the JMM-led alliance in the state was reduced to 45 MLAs comprising the JMM (27), Congress (17) and RJD (one).

Two JMM MLAs, Nalin Soren and Joba Majhi, are now parliamentarians, while Jama legislator Sita Soren resigned to contest the general elections on a BJP ticket. The JMM expelled two more legislators — Bishunpur MLA Chamra Linda and Boriyo MLA Lobin Hembrom — from the party.

Likewise, the BJP's strength in the Assembly has reduced to 24, as two of its MLAs — Dhulu Mahto (Baghmara) and Manish Jaiswal (Hazaribag) — are now MPs. The saffron party has expelled Mandu MLA Jaiprakash Bhai Patel after he joined the Congress to contest the polls. The current strength of the 81-member Jharkhand assembly is 76.

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