Sonia Gandhi’s nudge puts Hemant Soren back in Jharkhand saddle | India News – Times of India

RANCHI:Hemant Soren was back in the saddle Thursday for a third stint as Jharkhand CM after an unannounced 5pm swearing-in bereft of ceremony and purportedly hastened by a prod from Congress’s parliamentary chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
The former Congress president, whom Hemant called on June 30 after getting bail in the Ranchi land scam case two days earlier, is said to have convinced him to take charge quickly “in the interest of clarity within the JMM-led coalition”.
Hemant will seek a floor test during a one-day assembly session scheduled for July 8 and expand his cabinet thereafter, JMM said.
Both Raj Bhavan and the JMM rank and file had been given to understand after stand-in CM Champai Soren’s resignation Wednesday that Hemant would prefer to take the oath of office on June 7.
The apparent change in plan was conveyed to governor C P Radhakrishnan’s secretariat Thursday morning and made public barely two hours before the swearing-in.
JMM said 5pm was an “auspicious mahurat” for Hemant’s return. Since it was too late to send out invitations, the event at Raj Bhavan’s Durbar Hall took place before an audience of barely 100 people, including the three-time CM’s predecessor.
“He (Hemant) had been asked to intimate a date and time for the swearing-in. On Thursday morning, we received a letter saying the new CM would like to take oath at 5 pm, and it was arranged accordingly,” a Raj Bhavan official said.
ED’s plan to move Supreme Court against Jharkhand high court’s acceptance of Hemant’s bail plea may have been a factor in Hemant advancing the swearing-in.
When they spoke last week, Sonia apparently told Hemant that the only way to prevent “dual power centres” was for him to take back the chief ministership.
Hemant first became CM in July 2013, retaining the post till Dec 2014. His second stint started on Dec 29, 2019, but was cut short hours before his arrest on Jan 31 this year. Champai, whom he picked as his successor, took over on Feb 2.
Hemant’s father and JMM patriarch Shibu Soren, his newly elected MLA wife Kalpana Murmu Soren, Jharkhand Congress president Rajesh Thakur, former ministers of Champai’s cabinet, and MLAs of INDIA bloc attended the swearing-in.
Hemant and his wife visited Sidho-Kanhu Park in Morabadi later to pay tributes to tribal revolutionaries Sidho and Kanhu Murmu.
“They (NDA) tried to stop our march by hatching a conspiracy and development projects stalled for a few months. Now that I am back, all my decisions will be for Adivasis, Moolvasis and people from every strata of the society,” Hemant said.
Champai congratulated Hemant on becoming CM through a post on X.
While JMM is likely to retain most ministers from Champai’s cabinet, Latehar MLA Baidyanath Ram could be among the new faces, sources said.
“Congress, too, is likely to induct new faces. The ministers will be picked with the high command’s approval,” a Congress functionary said.

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