Ranchi | Champai Soren, who once tilled fields with his father in a remote village in Jharkhand's Seraikela-Kharsawan district, has ascended to the chair of the state's chief minister.
The 67-year-old tribal leader has earned the sobriquet "Jharkhand's Tiger" for his contribution to the long fight for the creation of a separate state in the 1990s. Jharkhand was created from the southern part of Bihar in 2000.
A loyalist of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha president Shibu Soren, Champai became the leader of the JMM legislative party after Hemant Soren's resignation as the chief minister by the ED in a money laundering case and his subsequent arrest on the night of January 31.
He is the seventh person to become Jharkhand's chief minister and the third from the JMM to reach that post after Shibu Soren and his son Hemant.
"I used to work in farms along with my father (Simal Soren)... Now fate has offered me a different role," Champai Soren told PTI after being elected as the leader of the JMM legislative party.
A matriculate from a government school, he started his political career by getting elected as an independent MLA through a by-election from the Saraikela seat in undivided Bihar in 1991.
Four years later, he contested the assembly polls from the seat on JMM ticket and defeated the BJP's Panchu Tudu. In the 2000 assembly elections, the first one held in the state, he was defeated from the same constituency by the BJP's Anant Ram Tudu.
He regained the seat in 2005 by defeating the BJP candidate by a margin of only 880 votes.
Champai Soren won the subsequent elections in 2009, 2014 and 2019.
He served as a cabinet minister in the BJP government headed by Arjun Munda between September 2010 to January 2013.
When Hemant Soren formed his second government in the state in 2019, Champai Soren became the Minister of Food and Civil Supplies and Transport. Champai Soren got married at a young age and has four sons and three daughters