23 Dec 2019
Meet Hemant Soren, who could be Jharkhand's next CM
Written byShalini Ojha
With every passing hour, things are getting clearer about Jharkhand elections.
Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Raghubar Das, won't be able to form the government on its own.
On the other hand, the Chief Minister's office looks like a stone's throw away for Hemant Soren, the working president of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
Here's everything you should know about Soren.
But first, let's look at the trends
Das became the first CM to complete a full term in Jharkhand but this time around, anti-incumbency seems to have won.
With him as the CM face, BJP took lead on 23 seats, while the grand alliance of Congress, JMM, and RJD is leading on 47 seats.
The magic number needed to form the government in the 81-seated state is 41.
Son of Shibu Soren, he was a reluctant politician
It's almost clear that Soren, who headed Jharkhand between 2013 and 2014, will be the next CM.
Born on August 10, 1975, Soren is the son of tribal leader Shibu Soren and his wife Roopi.
Soren remained in shadows of his brother Durga for many years. But after Durga passed away in 2009, the reluctant politician stepped up.
Soren's political career started with a dud
In 2005, Soren fought Assembly polls from Dumka, but party rebel Stephen Marandi defeated him.
It was only after the death of Durga, seen as Shibu's apparent heir, that Soren got a seat on the table of JMM top leadership.
He had a brief stint at Rajya Sabha (from June 24, 2009, to January 4, 2010), and then returned to state politics.
Soren was Jharkhand's deputy CM and CM both
When Arjun Munda led a coalition government of BJP, JMM, JDU, and AJSU, in 2010, Soren was made the deputy chief minister, a post he held for more than 2 years.
Soren is also the youngest CM of Jharkhand. He headed the state between July 2013 and December 2014.
If luck favors the 44-year-old, he might return to the CM office after five years.
He has watched his father fight for a separate state
Soren has spent his life watching his father (known as Guruji among his followers) fight for a separate state for tribals. Jharkhand was bifurcated from Bihar in 2000.
He claims to be an avid follower of Birsa Munda, a tribal freedom fighter who enjoys Godly status in the state.
In fact, it was Soren who sat on the driver's seat of the grand alliance.
Soren connected with voters, criticized Das
Courtesy Soren, Jharkhand was one of the first states where plans of mahagathbandhan materialized. Despite BJP putting up a good show in national elections (it won 12 of 14 seats), the party is struggling in Assembly polls.
This became possible because Soren tapped on local issues, like convincing tribals that BJP was after their land and supporting some 70,000 temporary teachers for regularization.
Even Modi's speeches failed to dent Soren's prospects
It's worth highlighting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed rallies in Dumka and Barhait, both constituencies from where Soren is fighting.
But the local leader's prospects weren't hampered despite the heavyweight's words. As per EC, Soren is leading on both the seats.
If Haryana and Maharashtra weren't enough, Jharkhand has again taught BJP that national issues rarely connect with those choosing their next CM.