Resentment in BJP, JMM over Jharkhand cabinet expansion

Jharkhand government alliance partners Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) are facing resentment from within over cabinet expansion.

Chief Minister Shibu Soren expanded his cabinet Saturday evening and inducted nine ministers, taking the total strength to 12. Soren was sworn in Dec 30 along with a nominee each of allies BJP and the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).

There is resentment over the upper castes not finding a place in the cabinet. “Our party has done wrong by not inducting any upper caste in the cabinet,” a senior BJP leader told IANS Sunday.

The upper castes constitute nearly 13 percent of the state’s population. In the 81-member assembly, eight Rajputs and two Brahmins were elected in the recent polls. None of them got place in the Soren cabinet.

Four BJP legislators got cabinet berths, including that of deputy chief minister. Two of them are tribals, one Dalit and one from the Vaishya community.

JMM is also facing resentment over the cabinet expansion. JMM has got four berths, including that of the chief minister. It has inducted two tribals, including Chief Minister Shibu Soren, and one each from Muslim and backward communities.

“In the Soren cabinet, Christians have not been given place. It seems that I was not given a berth as I belong to Christian community,” said JMM legislator Simon Marandi. Christians comprise about four percent of the state’s 26.9 million population.

The AJSU got three berths in the cabinet including one of deputy chief minister. Two of the three belong to the backward Mahto caste and one to the Dalit community. The lone JD-U minister, Sudha Chaudhary, is a Dalit.

Hussain Ansari of the JMM is the first Muslim to become a minister after Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar in 2000.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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