Ranchi (TIP): The Jharkhand BJP Legislature Party (BJPLP) on December 26 elected Raghubar Das as its leader, paving the way for the first non-tribal to become the chief minister of the state.
Das’s name was announced in the presence of two central observers — Union Health Minister J P Nadda and BJP vice-president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe — who arrived here as Narendra Modi’s emissaries.
The swearing-in will take place on December 28 at Morabadi ground here, which will be attended by the prime minister.
Since its creation in November 2000, Jharkhand has seen five chief ministers in nine governments and was under President’s Rule three times.
While Arjun Munda and Shibu Soren each served as the chief minister thrice, Babulal Marandi, Madhu Koda and Hemant Soren each were chief ministers once. Incidentally, all were tribals representing either Kolhan region or Santhal Parganas.
Das, who began his career as an employee of Tata Group, and later as a trade union leader, has won the Assembly polls for the fifth consecutive time from Jamshedpur East this time.
The 59-year-old OBC leader, who earlier served as deputy chief minister, had previously won from Jamshedpur East in 1995, 2000, 2005 and 2009. In 2014, he won from his bastion with the highest margin of 70,157 votes.
In the good books of Modi and Shah, Das is presently the BJP vice-president and was an undeclared rival of Arjun Munda for the top job in the state.
The defeat of Munda cleared the decks for him. On Friday, he promised “sabka saath, sabka vikas”.
Deccan Herald was the first national newspaper to have carried a story last week how a non-tribal was likely to be sworn in as the chief minister.
Senior BJP leader Saryu Roy who won from Jamshedpur West, is one of the contenders for the Speaker’s post. The MLA from Ranchi, C P Singh, who was earlier Assembly Speaker, is the other claimant for the top constitutional post.
A small ministry is likely to be sworn in on December 28 when Das takes oath. His Cabinet may include Loius Marandi, the Christian BJP leader who defeated outgoing Chief Minister Hemant Soren in Dumka, besides Rajkishore Mahto.
The All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU), which contested the polls in alliance with the BJP and won five seats, on Friday gave a letter of support to the Jharkhand Governor, thereby taking the strength of the ruling BJP-led alliance to 42 (The BJP has won 37 seats in 81-member House).
Since AJSU president Sudesh Mahto himself lost from Silli, the regional party elected Chandraprakash Choudhary as its legislature party leader. He, too, is likely to be sworn in as a minister in the Das government.