Life is a great battle': Hemant Soren, Jharkhand's youngest CM, arrested by ED

Hemant Soren: A Political Journey of Triumphs and Tribulations
Hemant Soren
Hemant Soren

Ranchi | From taking charge of Jharkhand as its youngest chief minister at 38, Hemant Soren who was arrested by the ED has had a chequered career.

Not the first choice of his father Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) supremo Shibu Soren for inheriting his political legacy, Hemant was groomed in politics after his elder brother Durga died of suspected kidney failure in 2009.

"...Life is a great battle, I have fought every moment, I will fight every moment but I will not beg for compromise," he shared on X a poem in Hindi, which roughly translates to this, soon after his arrest.

Born on August 10, 1975, in Nemra village near Hazaribag, Hemant did his intermediate from Patna High School and later joined Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra in Ranchi, but dropped out.

Known for his love of badminton, bicycles and books, Hemant has two children with his wife Kalpana.

He debuted as a Rajya Sabha member in 2009. Next year, he resigned from the Upper House of Parliament to take up the post of deputy chief minister in the BJP-led Arjun Munda government.

Two years later, the BJP-JMM government collapsed and the president's rule was imposed in the state.

In 2013, he took charge of the state as its youngest chief minister, with the support of the Congress and the RJD.

His first stint as CM was, however, short-lived as the BJP seized power in 2014 and Raghubar Das became chief minister. He went on to become the leader of the opposition.

In 2016, when the BJP-led government tried to amend the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, to allow leasing out of tribal land for non-agricultural purposes, Soren led a massive agitation that paid him dividends three years later.

With the support of his allies Congress and RJD, he stormed to power in 2019, with his party, JMM, alone winning 30 assembly seats, its highest tally ever in the 81-member House.

During his political ascendency, Soren was able to sideline senior JMM leaders such as Stephen Marandi, Simon Marandi and Hemlal Murmu, prompting them to quit the party.

While Murmu and Simon Marandi joined the BJP, Stephen Marandi floated a party along with the first BJP chief minister of the state Babulal Marandi. Stephen later returned to the JMM, accepting Soren as the party's leader.

Soren's tenure in the Chief Minister's Office has not been smooth.

In 2022, he was staring at disqualification as an MLA, which would have resulted in him losing the CM's post, as a mining lease given to him was allegedly renewed after he became the state's chief minister.

That year, three Congress MLAs from the state were caught with nearly Rs 49 lakh in cash in neighbouring West Bengal. The Soren-led ruling coalition had alleged that they were part of an attempt by the BJP to topple the government.

Amid the conundrums, Soren established himself as a strong voice of the state's dominant tribal community. From ensuring doorstep delivery of services with initiatives such as 'Apke Adhikar, Apki Sarkar, Apke Dwar' to expanding the state government's pension scheme to include more people, social welfare has been a trait of his regime.

He has also been a strong advocate for the economic benefits of mining activities in the state reaching the tribals.

Soren, now 48, was arrested in a money laundering case linked to alleged land fraud after he resigned as the chief minister. Senior JMM leader Champai Soren was named his successor.

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