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All sugary over new allies

Ranchi, July 11: Hemant Soren is already behaving like a chief minister.

Like a true politician, he is steering clear of controversy — he won’t even talk about the MLAs who would be in his ministry even though the names have all been finalised.

On a day the Union Cabinet recommended revocation of President’s Rule in the state, the would-be chief minister was holding court in the sprawling drawing room of his father and JMM patriarch Shibu Soren’s Morabadi residence.

Coalition dharma was the topic of the day. It is likely to be so for the next one and half years or so before the next Assembly elections.

“Although sadak, bijli, pani will be on our priority list, a common minimum programme would be charted out soon by all the alliance partners. We should never forget that it is a coalition government and we need to honour everyone to run it effectively so as to achieve better results,” Hemant told The Telegraph.

The JMM’s official gripe against the Arjun Munda government, of which it was a partner, was that it ignored its seven-point charter of demands that included issues like a domicile policy and due compensation for those who were part of the statehood movement.

But at the heart of it was a more personal issue. The JMM felt it was not being given due respect. No wonder Hemant talks of honour two days before his swearing in.

He said from the very first day — after the fall of the Munda government on January 8 — the JMM was of the view that forming an alternative government was the only way since a mid-term election would not be good for Jharkhand.

“President’s Rule was never a better option. In the last six months, the people of Jharkhand faced a lot of problems as far as redressal of their grievances was concerned. Now, I appeal to the common masses to approach the new government (when it is formed) with their problems.”

The need of the hour, said Hemant, was for all the alliance partners to ensure the state’s progress. “We will all sit together and fix priorities of the state and its citizens. I do not believe in talk, but in action,” he added.

On corruption, a national concern, Hemant said it was the responsibility of everyone to fight the social menace. “In elite class, the problem is more. But cross section of society should take the responsibility of getting rid of corruption,” he said.

Hemant claimed that since like-minded political forces had come together to form a government, it would not be a problem. “We will strike a balance,” he said, signing off by invoking his father.

“Guruji fought for a separate state. If Jharkhand wasn’t carved out of Bihar, we would not have eight chief ministers. So we should all thank Guruji for his exemplary contribution.”

In New Delhi, decks were being cleared for the swearing in of a new government in Jharkhand. Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said, “The Cabinet has unanimously recommended revocation of President’s Rule in Jharkhand.”

A formal notification would be issued once President Pranab Mukerjee signed on the dotted line.