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Soren has a history of not quitting easily
Published on 4 May. 2010 11:08 PM IST
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With his fate still hanging in the balance, Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren chaired a cabinet meeting Monday signalling that he is in no hurry to relinquish power.
Previous instances show that Soren, who also heads the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), does not quit influential posts easily. He is known to hold on to office for as long as he can or till the time he is left with no other option but to quit.
As part of the current political crisis in the state, Soren-led government’s coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants him to transfer power to it.
But ignoring the BJP’s ultimatum to step down and defer all important government decisions, Soren transferred six Indian Police Service (IPS) officers in Monday’s cabinet meeting.
According to a state BJP leader, the meeting was convened despite suggestions from the central BJP leadership to Soren to create an environment conducive to transfer of power at the earliest.
He has also been told, through his son and JMM’s negotiator with BJP Hemant Soren, to furnish letters of support in favour of BJP from all 18 JMM legislators.
Shibu Soren’s move to chair the cabinet meeting, despite his fate hanging in balance, is not an isolated instance of his dragging his feet over giving up an influential post.
In January 2009, Soren lost the crucial Tamar assembly bypoll which he needed to win to continue as the state chief minister. Even after losing the election, Soren did not resign for four days.
He finally stepped down when alliance partners mounted pressure on him.
After the March 2005 assembly election, Soren became the chief minister despite the numbers being against him. He remained in power for nine day.
He seemed reluctant to quit even after failing to prove his majority in the assembly. In view of his reluctance to quit, the then union home minister Shivraj Patil spoke to him over phone and told him to resign from the chief minister’s post.
After speaking to Patil, Soren went to meet the then governor Syed Sibtey Razi late in the night but came back to his home without handing over his resignation letter.
He faxed his resignation letter only after Patil telephoned him again.
In July 2007, Soren was the union coal minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government when an arrest warrant against him in a three-decade-old massacre case surfaced.
As pressure mounted on him to quit, Soren went underground to avoid resignation. He quit from the union cabinet only after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked him to do so.
Now again, Soren seems to be in no hurry to quit as Jharkhand chief minister despite the BJP putting its foot down on the issue.
Jharkhand plunged into the current political crisis after Soren voted in favour of the UPA government on a cut motion moved in the Lok Sabha by the BJP April 27.
A day after the cut motion, the BJP’s parliamentary board decided to withdraw the party’s support to the Soren-led Jharkhand government. Later, the BJP put its decision to withdraw support on hold April 30.
The JMM and BJP leaders met May 1 in New Delhi to sort out their differences. Hemant Soren who returned to Ranchi May 2 claimed that the Shibu Soren government would continue for now.

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