Opp show of strength at Hemant Soren's swearing in

Last Updated 26 December 2019, 15:45 IST

When JMM leader Hemant Soren will take oath as Chief Minister on Sunday in Jharkhand capital Ranchi, it will be a replay of the spectacle of Opposition unity, which was witnessed during oath-taking ceremony of former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in May 2018 during which the picture of Sonia Gandhi hugging BSP chief Mayawati had gone viral.

Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Mamata Banerjee and Sharad Yadav will be among the array of Opposition leaders including Chief Ministers and former Chief Ministers, who would be attending the Sunday swearing-in of the 44-year-old Soren.

Invitations have been extended to leaders including Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot former UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav, NCP leader Sharad Yadav and Bihar former deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. The invitation was also extended to RJD chief Lalu Prasad but he is unwell.

Working President of TRS KT Ramarao, while extending his good wishes to Soren, had recalled JMM and Shibu Soren was one of the first and steadfast supporters of Telangana statehood.

A number of Opposition Chief Ministers have already announced they will not implement the Citizenship Amendment Act in their states. Both Mamata Banerjee and Hemant Soren share same views on it. Banerjee had in May this year skipped Prime Minister Narendra Modis' swearing-in ceremony.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Congress and Rashtriya Janta Dal alliance has won 47 of 81 assembly seats in the tribal state, created during NDA’s first Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure in 2000. This will be the first Opposition government headed by a leader of any Opposition party in any state after Modi 2:0 came to power with a massive mandate in May 2019.

In Maharashtra, where Congress and NCP are part of the government, the Chief Minister is from Shiv Sena, which had fought the assembly poll in alliance with the BJP but had broken ranks later on the issue of CMship.

The victory of Jharkhand is important for the Opposition in a sense that the battle lines were clear from both sides. The BJP’s face was Raghubar Das, who had ruled the state for five years, providing the first stable full-term government in the state in last 19 years, while Hemant of Jharkhand tribal movement icon Shibu Soren, was the CM face of the pre-poll Opposition alliance.

Soren had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday, besides meeting and personally calling up a number of other Opposition leaders, most of whom have conveyed to him that they would be attending the ceremony.

A leader from the Opposition said while stopping the BJP from forming a government in Maharashtra was also a big achievement, many Opposition leaders could not attend the swearing-in ceremony of Uddhav Thackeray due to: historical ideological differences” with Sena.

“But this time there is no such compulsion. Soren’s swearing is an occasion for all of us to show solidarity. This victory has come amid renewed Hindutva pitch of BJP and attempts to polarize society in name of Citizenship Amendment Act and NRC. Hence the victory is special for us,” said an Opposition leader.

(Published 26 December 2019, 15:45 IST)

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