Shibu Soren is all set to be sworn in as chief minister of Jharkhand at a date and time his astrologers suggest. He will have to prove his majority in the Assembly on September 1.
It took a nod from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and the negotiating skills of the indomitable RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, to forge a 45-strong alliance for the UPA and set JMM chief Shibu Soren firmly on the path of taking over as Jharkhand’s sixth chief minister.
The Congress and the RJD will offer outside support with Madhu Koda acting as the UPA Steering Committee Chairman — a post that he finally accepted Invited to Raj Bhavan by Governor Syed Sibtey Razi, Lalu, Soren, former CM Koda and his deputy Stephen Marandi drove in to submit a list of 42 supporters with two BJP dissidents waiting in the wings. The list was accepted and Soren told to identify a date when the swearing-in can take place.
Koda and Stephen said they were firmly with the Soren and would remain a part of the UPA in deference to Lalu’s wishes. “He is a guardian to us,” said Koda adding that his primary concern as the chairman of the UPA committee would be to tackle unemployment, speed up development works, execute the PM’s agend and panchayat elections.
Besides 17 members of the JMM, the UPA has nine of the Congress and seven members of the RJD in the 82-member House.
The Independents are to be “absorbed” into the same departments they manned, maybe with minor alterations. Key posts as Ministers of Health, Mines and Minerals, Public Works, Urban Development, Forests and Environment and the Industries Department are likely to remain with them. The UPA can have a maximum of 12 ministers.