With his son as Deputy CM, Guruji Shibu Soren is a happy man.The court had exhonerated him in almost all criminal cases,including Shashi Nath Jha murder case and Rs 3.5 crore bribery case,leaving nothing for him to worry.This has prompted him to pass on the reins of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha to his son.In fact,Soren has given Hemant complete freedom to lead its leaders and workers.Though he was in the autumn of his life and was down with age and disease,he however was not sitting idle.

Insiders say he preferred to keep himself busy rearing cows,buffaloes and cultivating his land inside both his official residence in Ranchi and farm house in Bokaro.

Ask him if he is satisfied with the performance of the Arjun Munda government during the past two years and pat comes a reply:”Sarkar Accha Kaam Kar Rahi Hai”(Government is doing good work).

But not all leaders of the JMM were happy with the shift of leadsership from father Soren to son Hemant.Suraj Mandal,who claimed to be close to Guruji,is on the boil.”Now the party has no respect for us”,said Mandal who is likely to quit the JMM soon.

Though it remains to be seen whether Mandal or other old guards within the JMM including Simon Marandi will muster enough strength to cause a split,Hemant,who wanted to oil the party with fresh blood,had been running a campaign to induct young members.

In any case,senior Soren continues to be the most popular leader among tribals in Jharkhand.Such was his persona that a common Adivasi revered him as “Dishum Guru” and no government functionary dared to ignore him.”Guruji is the tallest Adivasi leader.We are proud of him”,said Ashok Munda,a school teacher,echoing the sentiments of many Adivasis including chief minister Arjun Munda.

A criticism doing the round in the corridors of power is that Guruji was not doing justice to the Jharkhand State Coordination Committee.Headed by him as chairman carrying the rank of a Cabinet minister,this committee was set up to coordinate between the partners-BJP,JMM,All Jharkhand Students Union and JD(U)-of the ruling coalition and evolve a common minimum programme(CMP) for implementation by the government.

Though the committee had met twice in two years under Soren’s chairmanship,CMP could not be adopted by its members till date.This had left the coalition partners,especially the ministers and the chief minister Munda to work freely and independentally without any interference from Soren.

And so no body within the coalition was complaining.


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