More than two decades ago, when Hemant Soren, the younger son of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) patriarch Shibu Soren, completed his Class 12th from Patna High School in the State Capital of undivided Bihar, he had two options before him. First, step into his father’s shoes and join the agitation for separate statehood (Jharkhand). Second: Join an engineering college and become a B Tech graduate.
It is believed that the senior Soren persuaded him to join Mechanical Engineering in Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra at Ranchi. Shibu and his wife Roopi Soren wanted to see Hemant as an engineer as their elder son Durga Soren was already a JMM legislator from Jama (near Dumka) and was perceived to be the heir apparent of Guru Ji, as Shibu Soren is fondly known in Jharkhand.
However, Durga Soren passed away at his Bokaro residence due to brain haemorrhage in May 2009. The untimely death of Durga left the family devastated. By that time, Hemant had discontinued his engineering studies. It was this year when the 1975-born Hemant decided to take a plunge into the hurly-burly of politics.
And what a grand way to start his political career. Hemant became a Rajya Sabha member in June 2009. However, he did not remain a member of the Upper House for too long. In December 2009, he contested the Assembly elections from Dumka, a fiefdom of JMM as well as Shibu Soren (the senior Soren has been a Lok Sabha member from Dumka for seven times).
After winning from Dumka, Hemant resigned as a member of Rajya Sabha in January 2010 and focussed on Jharkhand where his father served as Chief Minister thrice. Those who know him well argue that his sole aim was to “someday don the mantle of Jharkhand.” And the wait was not too long.
He soon became the Deputy Chief Minister in Arjun Munda Government when the BJP was in power in the State with the support of the JMM. However, the JMM soon withdrew support to the BJP and the Arjun Munda Government collapsed in January 2013. Eventually, President’s rule was imposed in the State.
Six months later, the Congress and the RJD joined hands with the JMM and Hemant Soren became the Chief Minister of Jharkhand in July 2013. However, Hemant lost from his citadel Dumka in December 2014 Assembly elections despite being CM. He, however, won from his second seat – Barheit and was appointed Leader of the Opposition when Raghubar Das came to power five years ago.
However, Lady-luck has smiled on him again. Now Hemant, having won from both Dumka and Barheit, is all set to assume CM’s chair for the second time in his decades-long political career.