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JMM’s Champai Soren takes oath as Jharkhand CM

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Trust vote on Feb 5; MLAs flown to Hyderabad

RANCHI, Feb 2: After two days of political uncertainty, JMM legislature party leader Champai Soren on Friday was sworn in as the chief minister of Jharkhand and the JMM-led coalition government will seek a vote of confidence on February 5.
Along with Champai Soren, senior Congress leader Alamgir Alam and RJD leader Satyanand Bhokta were sworn in as state ministers by Governor C P Radhakrishnan at the Raj Bhavan. Immediately after the swearing-in, 38 lawmakers of the ruling alliance were flown to Hyderabad to prevent any poaching attempt by the BJP in the run-up to the trust vote.
In its first cabinet meeting, the Champai Soren-led coalition government decided to seek a vote of trust on Monday. The governor gave 10 days to Champai Soren to prove a majority in the assembly, prompting the alliance to shift its MLAs from Jharkhand, a legislator said.
A senior leader of the coalition said: “The decision to shift the legislators to Hyderabad, the capital of Congress-ruled Telangana, was taken considering that the opposition BJP may make attempts to poach them.” Congress leader Banna Gupta whose party is a constituent of the ruling alliance said,”As many as 38 MLAs flew to Hyderabad. Several others stayed back.” The MLAs arrived at the Begumpet airport in Hyderabad in two flights, Congress sources said. AICC Telangana in-charge Deepa Das Munshi and state Transport Minister Ponnam Prabhakar received the MLAs.
After taking the oath, Champai Soren said: “We will take forward welfare schemes launched by Hemant Soren. I am committed to the development of Jharkhand”.
He also said, “We will continue the fight for ‘Jal, Jungle, Jameen’ (water, forest, land) for all-round development of tribals and others.”
Meanwhile, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren was remanded in Enforcement Directorate custody for five days by a special PMLA court here in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged land fraud, lawyers said.
The alliance, between the JMM, Congress and RJD, has 47 MLAs in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly and is supported from outside by the lone CPIML (L) legislator.
The 67-year-old tribal leader was sworn in as the 12th chief minister of the state. He became the sixth CM from Jharkhand’s Kolhan region which comprises East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan districts.Champai Soren’s swearing-in took place after a day of high political drama with alliance legislators expressing concerns over the delay in his appointment by the governor.Amid the concerns, the majority alliance took steps to shift its MLAs out of Jharkhand in chartered flights on Thursday.However, the planes could not take off due to poor visibility and the MLAs had to return to Circuit House here after a two-hour wait at the airport. (PTI)

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