Jharkhand Assembly election 2019 results: The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s dwindling political fortunes seem to have received a shot in the arm, with the Hemant Soren-led Opposition coalition posing a formidable challenge to the ruling BJP in the tribal-dominated state. As per the Election Commission’s latest figures, the JMM-Congress-RJD combine has maintained a lead in as many as 46 seats, which is more than the majority mark in the 81-member House.
This puts the spotlight back on 44-year-old Hemant Soren, who is the son of former Union minister and tribal leader Shibu Soren. Having faced a drubbing in the previous Assembly elections, including most recently in this year’s Lok Sabha elections (his father lost from Dumka), the bespectacled JMM chief, while talking to the Indian Express, had exuded confidence in winning back people’s trust.
Hemant, a santhal, has been projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the JMM-Congress-RJD opposition. With BJP battling anti-incumbency wave in the state, Hemant’s carefully stitched together alliance with Congress and RJD seems to have paid rich dividends for the Mahagathbandhan. Hemant has won from both Dumka and Barhait by a significant margin.
Even as the BJP campaigned on issues such as Article 370, Ram Temple and Triple Talaq and Citizenship Amendment Act, the JMM stuck to raising local issues such as lack of employment, water scarcity and the protection of “jal, jungle, zameen” (water, land and forest). Tribals constitute nearly 35 per cent of the total population in the JMM bastion of Santhal Pargana region.
“The BJP is deviating from core issues; the party does not want to talk about employment and other issues impacting Jharkhand. The BJP does not have any issue to talk about other than religion,” Hemant had said last week.
Born on August 10, 1975 to Shibu and Roopi in Ramgarh district, Hemant completed his schooling from Patna High School and afterwards enrolled him at Ranchi’s BIT (Mesra) for Mechanical Engineering, although he could not complete it due to certain reasons.
A fledgling politician then, Hemant took his electoral plunge in the 2005 Assembly polls when he contested from Dumka. However, it came a cropper as he was defeated by party rebel Stephen Marandi.
Four years later, he found himself among the senior JMM leadership following the sudden death of his elder brother Durga, who was considered as the natural inheritor of Shibu’s political legacy.
From June 24, 2009 to January 4, 2010, Hemant had a brief stint as Rajya Sabha MP. He also became the deputy chief minister when Arjun Munda headed a coalition of the BJP-JMM-JDU-AJSU Party later that year.
In 2013, Hemant became the state’s youngest chief minister and served till December 2014.
As per data from the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), Hemant declared assets worth more than Rs 8.5 crore in his latest election affidavit and cited two criminal cases against him.