A tale of former Chief Ministers of Jharkhand

Last Updated 31 December 2019, 02:18 IST

As JMM’s Hemant Soren took oath as 11th Chief Minister of Jharkhand on Sunday, he left behind a list of smiling, shocked, side-lined, sulking, and sabotaged of former Chief Ministers, who made their footprint on the rather turbulent unstable political map of Jharkhand.

The tribal state, since it was carved out from Bihar 2000, had seen Chief Ministers, having an average tenure of one and half years in last two decades and had been placed under Presidents’ Rule twice. Shibu Soren in his first term served the shortest tenure of just ten days while Jharkhand also made history when lone independent MLA Madhu Koda became CM.

Soren is fifth politician to take oath as CM, this being his second term while the only Chief Minister, who could provide a stable government for full five years Raghubar Das of BJP stands defeated.

For Raghubar who was third from the BJP to become Chief Minister, it is more than a defeat, an incarceration with almost the entire BJP machinery putting the blame entirely on him, something that he himself was quick to apportion to himself, to insulate the powerful combo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP Chief Shah from the ignominy of loss.

Raghubar Das’s stock in the party has suddenly fallen not by inches but by yards as the defeat is being sought by his critics on his “arrogance, inaccessibility and loud mouth approach” while the supporters of Das allege in hush hush tone “internal sabotage” as the party lost badly in tribal seats from where it had got substantial votes in Lok Sabha polls just six months back. Then obviously the contest was not for CM pick.

Das’ bitter rival in state politics is former Chief Minister Arjun Munda, who was inducted in Modi 2:0 cabinet as Tribal Affairs Minister and many believed it was an attempt to check the Das-Munda rivalry in state politics. With BJP’s experiment with a non-tribal face not working in Jharkhand, Munda will be looking at a return to state politics, but the BJP central leadership may have some other plans. The sulk of Munda, who led the BJP government in Jharkhand thrice in past and had emerged the tallest tribal leader of BJP with resources at command, may not have an immediate resolution.

Well Munda himself was not the first choice of BJP for the CM pick. When Jharkhand was formed in 2000, Babulal Marandi, a teacher with humble background was made Chief Minister from the BJP but soon Marandi had a run in with leaders of ally JD-U and lost backing of the then central leadership and had to resign after two years and four months and Arjun Munda took over.

Marandi made several attempts to bounce into the leadership role, forming his own party and making and breaking many alliances but this he is the most shocked among the former Chief Ministers.

His party had won only three seats this time and apparently in order to keep his flock together, he, immediately after election results were out, announced support to Hemant Soren government, which on its own had a very comfortable majority. Clearly the experience of last term was weighing heavy on the mind of Marandi, whose party had won eight assembly seats in 2014 of which six had defected to BJP, providing firm stability to Raghubar government.

Madhu Koda, independent MLA, who had made history by becoming first Chief Minister Independent category in any state (from September 2006 to August 2008), fights hard against his irrelevance in the state politics. Solace to him is that his wife Geeta Koda is now an MP from Congress.

Only Smiling Chief Minister is Dishom Guru Shibu Soren, one of the key leaders of Jharkhand movement, who served as Chief Minister of the state for three terms and now his son Hemant has become a second term Chief Minister of a coalition which has more than a majority to be stable.

In 2005, Shibu Soren was Chief Minister for just 10 days, then for four and five months in his two other terms between 2008 and 2010.

(Published 30 December 2019, 15:06 IST)

Follow us on