Champai Soren sworn in as Jharkhand CM amid political turmoil

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Who is Champai Soren?

Champai Soren is a veteran leader of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the vice president of the party. He has been elected as the new chief minister of Jharkhand, after the resignation and arrest of Hemant Soren on money laundering charges. He took oath as the 12th CM of the state on Friday, February 2, 2024, at the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi. He was administered the oath by Governor C P Radhakrishnan.

Champai Soren is a close aide of former CM Shibu Soren, the founder of JMM and the father of Hemant Soren. He has been a part of the Jharkhand statehood movement since his youth and has held several key portfolios in the previous governments, such as welfare and transport. He is also known as the ‘Kolhan Tiger’ for his popularity and influence in the Kolhan region of the state.

How did Champai Soren become the CM?

Champai Soren became the CM after a dramatic turn of events that shook the political landscape of Jharkhand. On Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Hemant Soren resigned as the CM and submitted his resignation letter to the Governor. Shortly after, he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land scam. The ED raided his residence and seized Rs 36 lakh in cash, a luxury SUV, and incriminating documents.

Champai Soren sworn

The JMM-led alliance, which also includes the Congress and the RJD, was in a crisis after Hemant Soren’s arrest. However, the coalition partners decided to stand united and support Champai Soren as the next leader. The JMM legislature party met on Thursday and unanimously elected Champai Soren as their leader. The Governor accepted Hemant Soren’s resignation and invited Champai Soren to form the government. He was given 10 days to prove his majority in the assembly.

What are the challenges ahead for Champai Soren?

Champai Soren has taken charge of the state at a time when it is facing several challenges, both political and developmental. He has to deal with the following issues:

  • The legal battle of Hemant Soren: The former CM has challenged his arrest in the Supreme Court, but the apex court has refused to entertain his plea and asked him to approach the high court. Hemant Soren has claimed that he is innocent and a victim of political vendetta. He has also accused the central government of misusing the ED to destabilize his government. Champai Soren has to balance his loyalty to Hemant Soren and his responsibility as the CM.
  • The stability of the coalition: The JMM-led alliance has a thin majority in the 81-member assembly, with 47 seats. The BJP, the main opposition party, has 25 seats. The alliance partners have expressed their support to Champai Soren, but there could be differences and dissent among them on various issues. Champai Soren has to keep the coalition intact and ensure smooth functioning of the government.
  • The development of the state: Jharkhand is one of the poorest and most backward states in the country, with low human development indicators and high social inequalities. The state is also rich in natural resources, but faces environmental and tribal issues. Champai Soren has to address the problems of poverty, unemployment, education, health, infrastructure, and governance in the state. He has to also fulfill the promises made by the alliance in its manifesto, such as farm loan waiver, job reservation, and land rights.

Champai Soren has a tough task ahead of him as the new CM of Jharkhand. He has to prove his mettle as a leader and a administrator, and win the trust and confidence of the people of the state.

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