Hemant Soren decides to expand cabinet on Friday, then has second thoughts
Hours after requesting Governor Draupadi Murmu to conduct swearing in of his cabinet colleagues on Friday, chief minister Hemant Soren on Thursday evening met the former for the second time in the day and requested her to postpone the cabinet expansion in view of the incident in Chaibasa.
Soren had met the Governor in the morning before leaving for Burugulikera village in Chibasa to meet the family of those killed. After his return to Ranchi, he again went to see the Governor.
Speaking to reporters, Soren said, “I told the Governor that holding an event for cabinet expansion would not be appropriate soon after this incident. She said she would look into it.”
Earlier in the day, the ball for the much-awaited cabinet expansion started rolling as the chief minister called on the Governor and sought time for the swearing-in.
The expansion was to take place 27 days after Soren took oath as CM on December 29 along with three ministers — two from the Congress and one from the RJD. He, however, did not distribute a portfolio to any of them, except for the parliamentary affairs ministry given to Congress Legislature Party leader Alamgir Alam.
At present, the size of the council of ministers in the Soren government is four. Eight more ministers could thus be accommodated, as per constitutional provision which prescribes that the total number of ministers, including the CM, in the council of ministers shall not exceed 15% of the total number of assembly members. Jharkhand assembly has 81 elected members. Two from Congress and six from JMM will be allotted ministerial berths. Congress functionaries said the chief minister will decide the portfolios in consultation with Singh.
Rameshwar Oraon, minister and Congress state president, said the state unit is still to be informed about who are the ministerial candidates from Congress. “The AICC will pick up the candidates and inform us,” Oraon said, adding, he was yet to receive official information about the oath-taking ceremony.
“Let Congress submit its list of ministers, we will announce soon after,” said Supriyo Bhattacharya, JMM general secretary, hinting that the party wants some new faces and old party guards.