Report Wire

News at Another Perspective

Kalpana Soren: Jharkhand govt set for cabinet expansion; Kalpana Soren likely to be one of the inductees

2 min read

Five months ahead of assembly polls, the Champai Sorenled coalition government in Jharkhand may witness a Cabinet expansion in July. Jailed former CM Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren could be one of the inductees.

There are two vacancies in the Champai Soren’s Cabinet and both may be filled to send a political message before assembly polls. Kalpana had won Gandey assembly byelection in May. In the runup to parliamentary elections, she emerged as the party’s star campaigner in the absence of Hemant, who has been lodged in jail since January in connection with a money laundering case linked with an alleged land grab.

According to JMM sources, Kalpana may be inducted in the Cabinet to portray her as the party’s main face in the forthcoming polls. Sources close to her, however, denied this speculation, saying she won’t want to enter the government for less than six months. JMM may not want to risk replacing Champai with Kalpana in the CM’s chair as this could trigger an internal rebellion. In Jharkhand, there are 12 Cabinet ministers along with the CM. At present there are 10 ministers (seven from JMM, one from RJD and three from Congress). One vacancy (opened up due to a JMM minister’s death) is from JMM quota and another has been created with the resignation of Congress’ Alamgir Alam after his arrest in a money laundering case. According to sources, Congress’ Jamtara MLA Irfan Ansari may be inducted into the Cabinet. Kalpana may fill the other vacancy. A source told ET: “The vacancy is for a candidate from the Scheduled Castes. It may also be a risk to fill it with a tribal. But it can be justified because Kalpana Soren is a tribal woman.”

The JMMled alliance has 47 MLAs JMM’s 29, Congress’s 17 and RJD’s one. Sixty sevenyearold Champai was sworn in as the 12th CM of the state on February 2.