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Soren is Jharkhand CM
Governor’s action triggers protests

BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar along with the 41 Jharkhand legislators during a dharna outside Raj Bhavan
BJP leaders Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar along with the 41 Jharkhand legislators during a dharna outside Raj Bhavan in Ranchi on Wednesday. — PTI photo

Ranchi, March 2
A seven-member UPA ministry headed by JMM chief Shibu Soren was today sworn in as the Jharkhand Chief Minister following Governor Sibtey Razi’s controversial decision to invite him to form the government, triggering a storm of protests by the BJP-led NDA which dubbed it a “constitutional outrage.”

Rebel JMM leader Stephen Marandi, who had revolted against 63-year-old Soren, his mentor, after being denied party ticket for the Assembly poll and defeated JMM chief son Hemant, was sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister by the Governor at a function at Raj Bhavan here.

Interestingly, no one from the Congress, which had forged a pre-poll alliance with the JMM and has nine MLAs, was inducted into the ministry.

Mr Joba Manjhi and Mr Bandhu Tirkey of the UGDP, Mr Girinath Singh and Ms Annapurna Devi of the RJD and Mr Kamlesh Kumar Singh of the NCP were sworn in as ministers. Mr Manjhi was the Tourism Minister in the previous NDA government.

The Governor invited Mr Soren to form the government and asked him to prove the majority on the floor of the 81-member Assembly by March 21. The invitation came immediately after Mr Soren, accompanied by AICC general secretary Harikesh Bahadur, had an hour-long meeting with Mr Razi claiming the support of 42 MLAs.

Mr Soren, who resigned from the Union Cabinet, is the third Chief Minister of Jharkhand, which came into being more than four years ago, after Mr Babulal Marandi and Mr Arjun Munda.

Earlier, five Independent MLAs had met the Governor to pledge support to the NDA which had submitted a list of 41 MLAs.

The BJP reacted strongly to the Governor’s invitation to Mr Soren to form the government describing it as a “constitutional outrage.”

“The Governor has throttled democracy. It is the height of misuse of power,” BJP general secretary Rajnath Singh said.

Soon after the announcement from Raj Bhavan, NDA supporters took to the streets, breaking car windows and lighting bonfires on several roads in the state capital here.

The BJP called a statewide bandh tomorrow in protest against the Governor’s action.

On the other hand, UPA supporters, took out victory processions in several areas shouting slogans for the JMM supremo and Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The installation of the UPA government in Jharkhand brought to an end the three-year rule of the NDA in the state where the maiden Assembly elections produced a fractured mandate. — PTI

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