Will Soren complete term as Jharkhand chief minister?

August 25th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, Aug 25 (IANS) As he prepares to rule Jharkhand again, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren will hope he does not land into trouble - as it has happened whenever he became minister or chief minister.Soren became a minister in the Manmohan Singh government in May 2004, but had to quit two months later as a warrant against him surfaced.

The warrant related to the killing of 11 people, including nine Muslims, at Chirudih in 1975. Soren went into hiding but had to surrender in the Jamtara district court following a Jharkhand government directive. He remained in jail for two months.

Guruji, as he is known among his supporters, was again given a berth in the central ministry in October 2004 but he quit in March 2005 to become chief minister of Jharkhand.

However, his luck ran out soon and he was forced to step down within 10 days as he failed to prove majority in the assembly.

Soren returned to the central cabinet in 2006. He also became chairperson of Jharkhand UPA when Madhu Koda became chief minister in September 2006.

However, he did not last long in the central government and was forced to resign in October 2006 after he was convicted and awarded life term for the murder of his personal secretary Shashinath Jha.

The Delhi High Court acquitted him in the Jha murder case in 2007. He also stands acquitted in the Chirudih massacre case. But there is one more murder case pending against him in the Giridih district court.

When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reshuffled the cabinet earlier this year, JMM supporters wanted to see Soren back in the ministry but he was not inducted.

Soren’s next opportunity came when the Left parties withdrew support to the central government, reducing it to minority and necessitating a trust vote. In the confidence motion of July 22, JMM supported the Manmohan Singh government and soon Soren expressed his wish to become Jharkhand chief minister again.

With the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) backing him and independent legislators making up the necessary number for majority, Soren should not have any trouble in completing the term till 2010.

But given his track record, his supporters will be keeping their fingers crossed.

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