Jharkhand’s first non-tribal chief minister, Raghubar Das, along with four members of the new cabinet on Sunday took oath amidst thousands of supporters in Ranchi. “This is a new beginning of a better, prosperous, successful Jharkhand,” Das said.
With Das’ swearing-in, Jharkhand became the eighth state to go the BJP way. The other states which the BJP governs are Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Goa, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP national president Amit Shah and home minister Rajnath Singh gave the event a miss. Earlier, the party had announced that Modi, Shah and Singh were likely to be present at the oath taking ceremony.
The event nevertheless had its share of high profile attendees. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh, Union road transport minister Nitin Gadkari, minister of urban development Venkaiah Naidu and Bihar’s former deputy CM Sushil Modi attended the ceremony among others.
The BJP, along with All Jharkhand Students Indian Union (AJSU), formed the first majority government in the state. The BJP won 37 seats and their alliance got 42 seats in the 81-member assembly with the AJSU’s five seats.
During the ceremony, outgoing chief minister Hemant Soren sportingly shook hands with the new cabinet ministers and Das, congratulating them on their success.
Throughout the ceremony, Soren, the only Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader on the podium was seen smiling and interacted with BJP state president Ravindar Rai and AJSU-party chief Sudesh Mahato. The JMM had emerged the second largest party with 19 seats.
PM Modi’s absence became a matter of criticism as BJP had projected Modi as the face of the party in Jharkhand elections. BJP sources said that the PM’s flight got delayed due to bad weather and hence he could not attend the ceremony. During the campaigning in Jharkhand, Modi and Shah had addressed 9 and 36 rallies respectively.