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Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das expands his cabinet; oppn calls event as ‘horse-trading’

Thursday's event takes the strength of the state cabinet to 11, one less than the maximum permissible number.

Jharkhand governor Syed Ahmed (L-5th) along with Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das (L-4th) and newly six ministers after taking oath ceremony at Birsa Mandap in Raj Bhawan, Ranchi on Thursday. (Source: Manob Chowdhury) Jharkhand governor Syed Ahmed (L-5th) along with Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das (L-4th) and newly six ministers after taking oath ceremony at Birsa Mandap in Raj Bhawan, Ranchi on Thursday. (Source: Manob Chowdhury)

After more than a month and a half of taking charge, Raghubar Das expanded his cabinet on Thursday, inducting six ministers and two who recently defected to the BJP from Babulal Marandi’s JVM(P).

All who were administered oath by Governor Syed Ahmed at the Raj Bhavan premises were BJP members, which meant that there were to be no more ministerial positions being offered to the five-MLA AJSU Party.

Saryu Rai, Ramchandra Chandravanshi, Raj Paliwal, Neera Yadav, Randhir Singh and Amar Bauri are the new ministers. The last two defected from the JVM(P); the Opposition boycotted the event alleging horse-trading by the BJP.

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Thursday’s event takes the strength of the state cabinet to 11, one less than the maximum permissible number. Though the government is yet to clarify as to why a berth has been left vacant, the grapevine is that it has to do with AJSU-P, BJP’s ally in government.

AJSU-P, which already has a minister in Chandra Prakash Choudhary, has been demanding another berth for itself. CM Das, who took charge on December 28 with the support of a total of 42 legislators in a House of 81, clearly did not trust the AJSU-P enough.

He kept the expansion of his cabinet on hold and sought to add numbers to his party by splitting the Congress’ – and when unsuccessful, the JVM-P’s legislative parties. By splitting Marandi’s eight-MLA outfit and bringing over six MLAs to the BJP, Das was able to ensure his party  a simple majority all on its own.

The AJSU-P can take consolation from the fact that its former MLA Navin Jaiswal was not made a minister. Jaiswal, denied a ticket, had gone over to the JVM-P and won from the Hatia seat.

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Interestingly, five of six made ministers on Thursday had won important duels in the last assembly elections. Three of them defeated sitting ministers in the previous Hemant Soren cabinet, while another had defeated the outgoing Assembly Speaker himself. A fifth had defeated the son of a minister who was fired by Soren.

First published on: 20-02-2015 at 02:52 IST
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