RANCHI/NEW DELHI: BJP leader Raghubar Das was on Sunday sworn-in as the new Chief Minister of Jharkhand at the head of a five-member BJP-AJSU coalition government, becoming the first non-tribal leader to rule the state.
Governor Syed Ahmed administered the oath of office and secrecy to 59-year-old Das at the Birsa Munda Football Stadium here.
Nilkanth Singh Munda, Chandreswar Prasad Singh, Louis Marandi (all BJP) and Chandraprakash Choudhary (Ajsu party) were also sworn-in as Cabinet Ministers.
Jharkhand has a maximum limit of 12 ministers, including the Chief Minister. Das, a National Vice President of the party, became the tenth Chief Minister after Babulal Marandi (once), Arjun Munda (thrice), Shibu Soren (thrice), Madhu Koda (once) and Hemant Soren (once) in 14 years after Jharkhand was created.
After being elected as the BJP’s Legislature Party leader on Friday, Das had staked claim to form government on December 26 at the head of BJP-Asju alliance.
Das joined the BJP as a worker and then gradually rose through party ranks before getting the first break when he was nominated as party candidate from Jamshedpur (East) in the 1995 Assembly polls in undivided Bihar. He went on to win the seat five times.
He became a Minister for the first time after the creation of Jharkhand in the Babulal Marandi government and got berths in the subsequent two governments led by Arjun Munda before becoming the Deputy Chief Minister in the Shibu Soren-led government in 2009.
He held portfolios of Finance, Labour and Urban Development during his stint as Cabinet Minister.
This is the first time that the BJP, along with its pre-poll ally AJSU, has got an absolute majority in 81-member state Assembly.
While the BJP has 37 members, AJSU has five, taking their total tally to 42.
Meanwhile, it was decided on Sunday, that JMM MLA and former Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi will be the Pro-tem Speaker of the newly constituted Jharkhand Assembly.
Fog Hits PM Visit
Delhi’s coldest day of the season played spoilsport for the BJP’s show of strength at the swearing-in ceremony of Raghubar Das as Jharkhand Chief Minister on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to attend the swearing-in of Jharkhand’s first non-tribal Chief Minister, after the BJP and All Jharkhand Students’ Union won 42 out of 81 seats.
With visibility down to 50 m due to fog, Modi tweeted at 10.19 am. “Was to travel to Jharkhand to attend the oath-taking ceremony of Raghubar Das, but am unable to do so due to weather conditions”.
“People of Jharkhand voted for stability. I congratulate them & pray that Jharkhand scales new heights of progress in the coming years,” he said.
A few hours later, BJP president Amit Shah also tweeted, “The weather conditions in Delhi didn’t permit our travel to Jharkhand. I wish Shri Raghubar Das ji the best for his upcoming tenure as a CM”.
From Uttar Pradesh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Due to dense fog in Lucknow, I shall not be able to reach Ranchi to attend the swearing-in ceremony in time”.