New Delhi: One doesn’t have to go a long way back in the past to find out that the new Chief Minister of Jharkhand Hemant Soren was not his father’s first choice as his political heir. Hemant Soren’s first public appearances along with his father were in 2004 when Shibu Soren was confronted with a decade-old arrest warrant in a murder case. Hemant Soren came to his father’s support in this tough situation. Shibu Soren had to resign from the Union Coal Ministry and he was sent to jail. He was later acquitted in the case. Hemant Soren fought the assembly election from Dumka unsuccessfully in 2005.
At that time, Hemant Soren’s elder brother Durga Soren was the emerging leader of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. On one fateful day in 2009, Durga Soren, Shibu Soren’s heir-apparent died in his sleep in their Bokaro house. It was not clear how he died, but it was said that there was a brain haemorrhage. he was suffering from kidney ailments. One of his kidneys was removed in 2001.
It was only after he died and Guruji, as Shibu Soren is known, quit the Manmohan Singh cabinet owing to his court conviction, Hemant emerged as the heir-apparent of the ‘Soren clan’ and won the Dumka Assembly seat in 2009. He went on to become a Rajya Sabha member in 2009- 2010, before becoming Jharkhand’s youngest chief minister in 2013, with the support of the Congress and the RJD. Still, his political rise was not smooth. There were senior leaders like Stephen Marandi, Simon Marandi and Hemlal Murmu.
While Murmu and Simon Marandi joined the BJP, Stephen Marandi floated a party along with the first BJP chief minister of the state, Babulal Marandi. Stephen had later returned to the JMM fold, accepting Hemant Soren as the party’s leader. In 2014, Hemant won a seat in the Jharkhand assembly and became the leader of the opposition.
Hemant Soren’s masterstroke was when he joined the opposition Grand Alliance for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls with the Congress, the JVM-P and the RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal). As part of the electoral arrangement with the alliance, he surrendered seven seats to the Congress and kept only four for the JMM out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand. It cemented the alliance that fought the state elections together and finally secured a full majority.
(With Agency Inputs)