Wednesday, November 15, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Marandi sworn in CM
Jharkhand comes into being

RANCHI, Nov 14 (UNI, PTI) — Jharkhand, the 28th state of the Indian Union, was born shortly past midnight tonight with the swearing in of the Governor Prabhat Kumar and Chief Minister Babu Lal Marandi (42), whose oath-taking was delayed by half an hour by a last-minute drama of claim to government formation by his closest rival JMM (S) chief Shibu Soren.

Mr Kumar, a retired bureaucrat, was administered the oath by Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court Mr Justice B.N. Gupta at 0005 hours.

Mr Prabhat Kumar then administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Marandi.

The political drama unfolded soon after the swearing in of the Governor when Shibu Soren, accompanied by Congress Legislative Party leader Furkan Ansari and Bihar RJD minister Girinath Singh, met Prabhat Kumar at the Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form government with a list of 36 MLAs and claiming the support of nine other MLAs.

The Governor then invited Mr Marandi to stake claim who came up with a list of 44 MLAs.

After verifying the claims of the two sides, Mr Kumar invited Mr Marandi to form government and asked him to seek a confidence vote in the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly by 15 days.

Earlier today the National Democratic Alliance elected former Union Minister Babu Lal Marandi as the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate of Jharkhand, even as the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha Legislature Party today decided to stake claim to form government in the new state.

The NDA legislators, who met here this afternoon, elected Mr Marandi as their leader in the proposed Jharkhand Assembly.

His name was proposed by Janata Dal (U) Legislator Inder Singh Namdhari and seconded by legislators of the Samata Party, the JD (U) and the BJP.

Independent legislator Samresh Singh, who was present during the meeting, extended support to Mr Marandi. With his support, the NDA strength in the new state Assembly has gone up to 44. The NDA, which has 40 legislators of its own, has already been given support by two AJSU-backed legislators Sudesh Mahato and Joba Manjhi.

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