Uneasy tie-up with BJP leads to Soren`s resignation

Shibu Soren, who resigned tonight a day ahead of a floor test, had begun his third term as Jharkhand Chief Minister on a shaky note.

Last Updated: May 30, 2010, 23:48 PM IST

Ranchi: Shibu Soren, who resigned tonight a
day ahead of a floor test, had begun his third term as
Jharkhand Chief Minister on a shaky note with questions being
raised about the longevity of his uneasy tie-up with BJP which
finally culminated into his stepping down from office.

An isolated Soren put in his papers after failing to get
the support of Congress and its ally JVM(P) ahead of
tomorrow`s trust vote in the assembly.

With the odds stacked against him, Soren, who has been
holding on to his post after reneging on a power-sharing deal
with the BJP, made overtures to the Congress which was not
forthcoming.

The BJP, with which JMM had entered into a post-poll
alliance for the first time to cobble together a majority in
the 81-member Assembly, had been giving pin pricks to JMM on a
number of occasions in the past.

The trouble in Jharkhand began after the JMM chief sided
with the UPA during the cut motions moved by the main
opposition BJP in the Lok Sabha prompting the latter to
announce withdrawal of support to Soren government, a
decision put on hold by the party when Soren apologised for
his "mistake".

The JMM suggested a power sharing arrangement on a
rotational basis with the BJP but finally nothing worked out
with an adamant Soren refusing to budge.

Before the current crisis began in Jharkhand, Soren had
been accused by BJP of not acting against Koda in the
multi-crore mining scam by supporting the government headed by
the Independent MLA. BJP had also been attacking JMM for lack
of development in the tribal state.

A host of criminal cases have also been haunting Soren
who is facing a case of double murder in Giridih district.

Though he has been acquitted by the Delhi High Court in
the case of murder of his personal assistant Shashinath Jha,
CBI may challenge the order in the Supreme court.

Born on January 11, 1944 in Nemra village of Hazaribagh
district (now in Ramgarh district), Soren had to cut short his
education after his father, Somlang, a school teacher was
allegedly killed by moneylenders in the 1960s.

The shocking incident left a scar in his mind and Soren
took up the gauntlet to fight exploitation of tribals by
moneylenders.

Soren constituted the Santhal Sudhav Samaj and in the
late 1960s set up an ashram at Tundi block in Dhanbad district
to take up the cause of the poor and also opposed non-tribal
`outsiders`.

The tribal leader started his political career in the
early 1970s and was in the forefront of the fight for carving
out a separate Jharkhand state from Bihar.

On January 23, 1975, he was allegedly part of a mob that
attacked minority-dominated Chirudih village to drive away
`outsiders` leaving 11 dead. He was charged with murder, a
case which was to haunt him in his later political life.

A founder member of the JMM in 1972, Soren plunged into
Jharkhand movement before taking a temporary break when he
took over the chairmanship of the Jharkhand Area Autonomous
Council (JAAC) in the 1990s.

Soren was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1980 and
subsequently in 1989, 1991 and 1996.

In 2002, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha with the help
of the BJP. He won the Dumka Lok Sabha seat in a by-election
the same year and resigned his Rajya Sabha seat. He was
re-elected in 2004.

Soren then became the Coal Minister in the Manmohan Singh
government, but was asked to resign following an arrest
warrant in the Chirudih case.

After the issue of the warrant, he initially went
underground. He resigned on 24 July 2004 and was able to
secure bail after spending over a month in judicial custody.

Soren was re-inducted into the Union Cabinet and again
given the Coal ministry on 27 November 2004 as part of a deal
for a Congress-JMM alliance before assembly elections in
Jharkhand in the February-March 2005.

He subsequently became Jharkhand Chief Minister. But, he
failed to prove his majority in the assembly and had to quit.

Soren returned to the Centre in 2006 and became a
minister at the Centre. However, he had to quit after he was
convicted and jailed for life for the case relating to the
murder of Jha.

Jha was abducted and murdered reportedly because he had
knowledge of the JMM bribery case in which the party?s MPs
allegedly took money to save the P V Narasimha Government on
the floor of the Lok Sabha.

Soren was acquitted in the murder case by the Delhi High
Court in 2007 and also the Chirudih massacre case.

He became chairperson of the state United Progressive
Alliance (UPA) in Jharkhand when Madhu Koda became chief
minister in September 2006 and took over the reins from him to
become chief minister for a second term.

In January this year, Soren had to step down again when
he was defeated by an Independent Gopal Krishna Patar in the
Tamar Assembly by-elections. Since he was not an MLA, he had
to quit.

Soren`s first term as Chief Minister was from March 2,
2005 which lasted just nine days, while he spent a little over
four months in the office during his second term from August
27, 2008.

PTI