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Raghubar Das, first non-tribal, becomes Jharkhand CM

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Ranchi, Dec 28 (IANS) Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Raghubar Das took oath here Sunday as Jharkhand’s 10th chief minister, the first non-tribal to do so.

The 60-year-old Das, who will head a two-party coalition, made it to the venue to wild cheering by thousands of supporters after offering prayers at a Hanuman temple and a Sani temple.

But the crowds thronging the Morabadi football ground were disappointed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to make it to the event due to bad weather.

A thick fog in northern India also prevented BJP president Amit Shah, party leader L.K. Advani and Home Minister Rajnath Singh from making it to Ranchi.

Governor Syed Ahmad administered the oath of office and secrecy to Das and four ministers – three from the BJP and one from the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).

The BJP ministers are Neelkanth Singh Munda, C.P. Singh and Louis Marandi, who defeated outgoing chief minister Hemant Soren at Dumka. The AJSU representative in the ministry is Chandra Prakash Chaudhary.

Modi could not attend the ceremony due to a thick fog in Delhi which reduced visibility to less than 50 meters.

A five-time legislator, Das was elected the BJP legislature party leader Friday after his party won 37 seats in the 81-member assembly. The AJSU got five seats to give the two parties a majority in the house.

Das joined the BJP in 1980, the year it was formed following the break up of the Janata Party. He has been the Jharkhand BJP president twice.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh told the media: “It is the happiest moment that a BJP government has been formed in Jharkhand. Now the state will develop. Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were created together (in 2000).”

Many in the crowd expressed unhappiness on not seeing Modi.

“We voted the BJP to power in the name of the prime minister. Bad weather turned out to be the villain,” moaned Naveen, a resident of Ranchi at the swearing in ceremony.

Among the VIPs who attended the event were Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, central ministers M. Venkaih Naidu and Nitin Gandkari, and former chief ministers Arjun Munda of BJP, Hemant Soren of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Viks Morcha-P.

This is first time a non-tribal will govern Jharkhand. All previous nine chief ministers were tribals.

–Indo-Asians News Service
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