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Champai Soren expands cabinet, Hemant Soren’s brother among eight appointees


RANCHI: About two weeks after assuming charge as the new chief


of Jharkhand,

Champai Soren


Basant Soren

, jailed former CM

Hemant Soren

‘s brother, as a minister along with seven other MLAs on Friday.
The new look


will comprise 11 ministers, including the CM, and one berth kept vacant as was the case during the previous Hemant Soren government for future induction.

Champai had taken oath on February 2, along with one Congress and one RJD MLA.
The JMM-Congress-RJD ‘mahagathbandhan sarkar’ had entered into a cabinet berth sharing formula of 7:4:1 soon after the results of 2019 assembly elections were declared and left it that way on Friday as well.

JMM’s efforts to fill in the 12th ministerial berth was foiled by protests from Congress MLAs as Champai dropped Latehar MLA Baidyanath Ram of JMM from the cabinet at the last minute even after Raj Bhavan issued a warrant of appointment in his name.
While RJD has only one MLA in the 81-member house, it was JMM and Congress MLAs who eyed the vacant cabinet berth during Hemant’s government. It was the same 12th ministerial berth the Congress wanted to claim on Friday. “This morning, I got a call from the chief minister who told me that I will not be inducted into the cabinet for the time being as there is extreme pressure from Congress MLAs who are on verge of revolt. He assured me of looking into the matter in the coming days,” Ram, who arrived at Raj Bhavan to attend the swearing in ceremony, told TOI. The BJP attacked JMM for dropping Ram, calling it “an insult to the 50-lakh strong scheduled caste population of the state.” “The move has exposed the anti-Dalit face of the JMM, Congress and RJD,” leader of opposition Amar Kumar Bauri wrote on X.
Basant (44), who is the sitting MLA from party bastion Dumka, met Hemant at Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail and sought his blessings. Basant was under the Election Commission’s scanner in 2022 in an office-of-profit case for allegedly not disclosing his association with a mining firm in his election affidavit.

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