Soren to take oath as Jharkhand CM on Wednesday

Ranchi: JMM chief Shibu Soren is all set to take oath as chief minister heading a five-party coalition in Jharkhand tomorrow, which will be the seventh dispensation in nine years since it became a separate state.

65-year-old Soren, who had been chief minister of the mineral-rich state twice earlier, will take oath at 10.30 am at the historic Morabadi ground here.

Preparations were underway at Morabadi ground for the ceremony after Governor K Sankaranarayanan invited him to form the government.

Soren, who was asked to take the floor test of his government by January eight, has not yet revealed who else would be taking oath along with him triggering speculation.

As of now, Soren, known as Guruji, will take oath along with his two deputies -- Sudesh Mahato of AJSU and Raghubar Das of BJP. But this too is tentative," a senior AJSU leader told agency when asked how many ministers would take oath with the JMM supremo.

As per the constitutional requirement, Jharkhand can have 12 ministers including the chief minister.

Soren had staked claim to form the government on December 25, two days after the election results had thrown up a hung assembly.

The following day, he was invited to form the government supported by 44 MLAs (JMM 18, BJP 18, JDU-2 AJSU 5, JJM 1) in the 81-member Assembly.

Soren had twice before been the Jharkhand chief minister, but as the head of the UPA. This is for the first time that he will he heading the government with the help of the NDA.

Incidentally, Soren was the chief minister till the President's rule was imposed in the state in January.

Soon after meeting BJP president Nitin Gadkari in Mumbai and NDA Convenor and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav in New Delhi yesterday, Soren said "our efforts will be to provide a clean and stable government. Jharkhand is a mineral rich state but the people have remained poor."

"Our efforts will be to uplift the poor," he said, adding a common minimum programme would also be formulated by all the coalition partners.

This is the first time in the state's political history when an alliance has not yet been formally named, though Soren has forged ties with the BJP and JD(U).

"A decision about JMM becoming part of the NDA will be taken later," Sharad Yadav said in Delhi last night when asked whether the JMM would be part of the NDA.