Lady luck deserts Soren once again

January 8th, 2009 - 5:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Jan 8 (IANS) When Shibu Soren took oath as Jharkhand chief minister in August, many wondered if he would be able to remain in power. On Thursday, luck deserted him again as he lost an election he needed to win. When the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief took oath as chief minister Aug 27, replacing Madhu Koda, he was not a member of the legislative assembly and needed to be elected within six months.

He had pinned his hopes on the Tamar constituency by-election, but he lost by over 9,000 votes to Raja Peter of the Jharkhand Party, making it impossible for him to continue as chief minister after Feb 27.

This loss has proved to be the fourth time unlucky for Soren. His track record is of landing in trouble whenever he is in power.

Soren, 64, known among JMM supporters as Guruji, became a minister in the central government in May 2004 but had to quit within two months after a warrant pending against him in a three-decade-old case surfaced.

The warrant related to the Chirudih massacre case in which 11 people including nine Muslims were killed in 1975.

After quitting the central ministry, Soren went into hiding before surrendering in the Jamatra district court. He remained in jail for two months.

Soren returned to the central cabinet in October 2004 - only to quit in March 2005 when he became Jharkhand chief minister. But he failed to prove his majority in the assembly and had to quit the post.

He returned to the central cabinet in 2006 and also became chairperson of the state United Progressive Alliance (UPA) when Koda became chief minister in September 2006.

But his luck ran out once again as he had to resign as central minister in October 2006 after he was convicted and jailed for life for his role in his personal secretary Shashinath Jha’s murder in 1994.

On appeal, he was acquitted in the murder case by the Delhi High Court in 2007. Later, he was acquitted in the Chirudih massacre case too. But he is facing trial in the Giridih district court in another murder case.

Soren returned to New Delhi as his party provided crucial support to the Manmohan Singh government during the July 22 trust vote last year after the Left parties withdrew their support to the UPA.

With the help of the Congress, which leads the UPA, Soren managed to replace Koda and became chief minister in August - only to lose the by-election Thursday.

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