Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren is likely to induct new members into the state Cabinet, with both Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress likely to induct new faces.

While only around four months are left before the state heads into assembly elections, well-placed insiders in the ruling establishment said the top leaders of the two alliance partners have sealed the issue, and the oath ceremony would be held this week. 

Jharkhand Congress in-charge Ghulam Ahmed Mir met former chief minister Hemant Soren in jail in the presence of Kalpana Soren, MLA and wife of Hemant Soren, where the top leaders discussed the modalities of cabinet expansion besides deliberating on the upcoming assembly elections, party insiders said. 

Already CM Champai Soren has gone on record saying , “The process would be completed soon.” 

Though the chief minister did not reveal the names of new members, insiders said the JMM is likely to induct Latehar MLA Baidyanath Ram into the cabinet and fill the vacant 12th berth in the cabinet. 

As per the norms, the Jharkhand cabinet could have 12 members, including the chief minister. After the resignation of Congress minister Alamgir Alam, the Champai cabinet has 10 members including Soren. 

 While Congress, insiders said, would induct one MLA to replace Alam, JMM is likely to fill the 12th spot which has remained vacant since the JMM-Congress-RJD combined regime in 2019. JMM has five spots in the cabinet besides the chief minister, while Congress has four members. 

The lone RJD MLA, Satyanand Bhokta, is also a minister. “It’s almost certain that Irfan Ansari would replace the spot vacated by Alamgir Alam, who was also the leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP). A new person would be named CLP leader. 

Similarly, the JMM will likely induct Latehar MLA Baidyanath Ram into the cabinet against the 12th spot. Ram would be the first Dalit member in the present cabinet,” said an official in the government. 

Irfan is set to replace Alam in the cabinet. The Congress party could also drop at least two incumbent members and give a chance to new MLAs and thereby contain discontent within the grand old party.

“Agriculture minister Badal Patralekh and finance minister Rameshwar Oraon could face the axe,” the leader added.

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