The Bharatiya Janata Party leader Raghuvar Das was sworn in as Chief Minister of Jharkhand in Ranchi on Sunday. Three BJP MLAs and one of the All-Jharkhand Students’ Union were sworn in as Ministers.
Governor Syed Ahmed administered the oath of office to them. Das is the first Chief Minister of the State from outside a tribal community. Neelkanth Munda, C.P. Singh and Louis Marandi from the BJP and Chandraprakash Chaudhury from the AJSU are the new Ministers. More Ministers are likely to be appointed as, by law, the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly allows a 12-strong Cabinet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah could not attend the swearing-in as dense fog in Delhi upset their travel plans.
Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Radha Mohan Singh; Union Ministers of State Sudarshan Bhagat and Jayant Sinha; and Raman Singh and Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, attended the function. The former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, was present.
The 14-year-old State of Jharkhand has a coalition government with an absolute majority for the first time, with the BJP securing 37 seats and the AJSU bagging five in the Assembly election. Nine governments have ruled the State, and President’s Rule was imposed thrice.
After the swearing-in, Das went to the Karmatoli locality of Ranchi and wielded a broom to initiate the Swachh Bharat campaign in the State. He later attended a meeting with top officials in the Secretariat.
The appointment of Chaudhury, 45, as Minister has raised eyebrows as he faced corruption charges while he was a member of the Madhu Koda Cabinet from September 2006 to August 2008.
In August 2010, the Jharkhand High Court ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the assets of Koda, Chaudhury and other Ministers. Again, the CBI raided his house and office in May 2012 for his alleged involvement in a cash-for-vote scam during the Rajya Sabha elections.
In 2009, Income Tax officials raided the house of Manoj Kumar Singh, former personal assistant to Chaudhury, and reportedly unearthed details of fixed deposits of Rs 140 million in banks.