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Home / India News / With photographs, Chief Minister-in-waiting Hemant Soren messages he has arrived

With photographs, Chief Minister-in-waiting Hemant Soren messages he has arrived

The final outcome still uncertain, Hemant Soren who has inherited his father Shibu Soren’s political legacy, drove down to the senior Soren’s residence less than a kilometre away to seek his blessings. Hemant Soren’s family accompanied him.

india Updated: Dec 23, 2019 18:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
JMM’s Hemant Soren, who leads the opposition effort in Jharkhand, is the presumptive chief minister of the grand alliance.
JMM’s Hemant Soren, who leads the opposition effort in Jharkhand, is the presumptive chief minister of the grand alliance.

Scores of Hemant Soren’s supporters had gathered outside his Ranchi house, distributing sweets to celebrate the Jharkhand election results. The opposition alliance that the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Hemant Soren had cobbled appeared to be within striking distance of power. Hemant Soren didn’t want to jump the gun and waited for the lead to stabilise.

There are around half-a-dozen seats where the margin was less than a 1,000 or thereabouts.

“Hemant ji is waiting for a full confirmed status on seats which are still under a close fight,” an aide said in a text message. In Simdega, for instance, alliance partner Congress Bhushan Bara was leading by just about 258 votes.

The final outcome still uncertain, Hemant Soren who has inherited his father Shibu Soren’s political legacy, drove down to the senior Soren’s residence less than a kilometre away to seek his blessings. Hemant Soren’s family accompanied him.

The photographs were quickly put out. In one, he was touching Shibu Soren’s feet. In another, a video, the father-son took a walk around in the garden. In a third, Shibu Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren joined them.

The photographs are designed to message that the JMM leader is getting ready to make his move, a JMM leader said. That Hemant Soren - the Jharkhand leader who enjoys “electronic gadgets and mobile video games”, his aides say - “is the man of the moment”.

Soren, 44, the JMM leader who emerged out of the shadows of his father Shibu Soren back in 2013, hasn’t said a word yet on the poll outcome.

Hemant Soren, who enrolled but never completed his graduation in engineering, had pulled down the Arjun Munda government in 2013 to become the chief minister, then the state’s and the country’s youngest.

It was practically under his leadership that the JMM delivered its highest ever tally of 19 seats in 2014. This time, he has beaten his record and is set to corner 29 seats to emerge as the state’s largest party.

But it hadn’t been a smooth start for the Hemant Soren. Shibu Soren’s decision to field Hemant from Dumka in 2005 had set up a rebellion of sorts when Shibu Soren’s long-term associate Stephen Marandi left the party. He contested from Dumka as an Independent and won. Hemant finished third. The tables, however, turned in 2009 when Hemant won and Marandi, a six-term MLA from Dumka, finished third.

Analysts say Soren’s personality, which is in sharp contrast to JMM’s identity of agitation politics led by his father, has also helped himself in increasing his acceptability even among the non-tribals.

“He is in a different league that his father. He knows that his father was basically leading a movement while he is leading a political party. He has also transformed himself over the past five years in his public persona. Hemant has shown that he is in command. Barring a few hiccups during seat sharing which is natural to the campaign period, it never appeared that there are chinks in the alliance,” said LK Kundan, who teaches political science at Ranchi University.