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Soren sworn in, vows to fight corruption
Published on 31 Dec. 2009 12:53 AM IST
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Veteran tribal politician Shibu Soren Wednesday became the Jharkhand chief minister for the third time in four years with the backing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and vowed to provide a corruption-free government. As thousands of mostly tribals cheered on, the 65-year-old Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief took the oath of office as the state’s seventh chief minister at the Morabadi ground here ending 11 months of President’s Rule. Soren was sworn in along with state BJP president Raghubar Das and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) president Sudesh Mahto, the two others in his coalition government. At the very first cabinet meeting, Soren accorded the status of deputy chief minister to both Das and Mahto and said he would seek the trust vote in the 81-member legislature Jan 7. “The cabinet has recommended the governor to convene the state assembly on Jan 4. We will seek the trust vote on Jan 7,” a visibly pleased Soren told reporters. Soren has set a 100-day agenda to determine the number of families living below the poverty line (BPL) and provide them food grains and salt at subsidised prices. He also pledged to initiate a dialogue with Maoist guerrillas who have in recent years stepped up their violent campaign in Jharkhand and neighbouring states. In a separate interview with IANS, Soren promised that he would provide a government free of corruption. “We have learnt lessons form the past ... like political instability, corruption and incompetence in Jharkhand. All the components of a new coalition government are committed to the development of the state.” Soren said the priorities of his government would be to provide “roti, kapda and makan” (food, cloth and house) to all sections of the society. “Enormous political corruption and instability worsened the condition of Jharkhand since its formation. We are dedicated to work for the members of backward communities and the downtrodden,” he said. Soren first became chief minister of Jharkhand in August 2005. He quit in 10 days after failing to prove his majority in the legislature. He became chief minister again in August 2008. He resigned in January this year after losing an assembly by-election. “In my third tenure, we will stand by our commitments and we will try our best to provide clothes, food and houses to all,” Soren said. Among the VIP guests who watched Soren return to the helm of affairs in Ranchi were BJP chief ministers Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh and Ramesh Pokhriyanal Nisak of Uttarakhand, former Jharkhand chief minister and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajantantrik (JVM-P) president Babulal Marandi, who allied with the Congress in the assembly elections. The Congress-Marandi alliance won 25 seats. But with the JMM and BJP bagging 18 seats each, Soren emerged the kingmaker. In the event, he decided to become the king of Jharkhand with the BJP’s assistance. The BJP is also the junior partner to the Janata Dal-United in adjoining Bihar. The JD-U and two independents have also extended their support to Soren, taking the total legislators backing his government to 45 in the 81-member house.

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