Is Hemant Soren an easy target for BJP in Jharkhand?

New Delhi (IANS) The BJP, taking a shot at forming government in Madhya Pradesh, can target Jharkhand, where everything is not well with the Mahagathbandhan government, once it is through with the Madhya Pradesh political turmoil.

There are reports of divisions between the ruling allies, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Congress, with discontent brewing among ruling MLAs over choice of ministers and a host of local issues. Sources said the BJP is waiting for the Rajya Sabha polls to be over on March 26 before taking any decision.

There was a BJP-JMM government in the state in 2009 when Shibu Soren became the Chief Minister with BJP support. Raghubar Das, the former BJP CM, was then Soren's deputy. Later, BJP's Arjun Munda and JMM's Hemant Soren became chief ministers. Between 2009 and 2014, Jharkhand saw three CMs.

"The ties between BJP and JMM are old with senior leaders from both parties enjoying personal equations. If we can form a government in the past, why not in the future? Chief Minister Hemant Soren is already feeling uncomfortable working with the Congress. If discontent rises between the ruling allies, then the BJP may step in. We are, however, in no hurry," said a Jhakhand BJP leader.

As signs of "good relations", the leader referred to Hemant Soren's post-election victory gesture: he went to the party leader Babulal Marandi, whose Jharkhand Vikas Morcha recently merged with BJP, to touch his feet.

BJP sources said that Marandi's return to the party would facilitate an easy understanding with the JMM whenever the saffron party decides to form government in Jharkhand.

Hemant Soren, who repeatedly told his supporters during his election campaigns for the Assembly polls that tribes in the state were not Hindus, now appears to be going soft on Hindutva. He has been to Kashi Vishwanath temple for celebrating his 14th marriage anniversary and has participated in 'Ganga aarti.' In his own state, Soren has paid obeisance at many temples In Deoghar. Then, in his cabinet, Soren has not given any portfolio to Stephen Marandi, a Christian.

Sources say Soren has dropped enough hints for the Congress that if he was not given adequate freedom to run the government, he might choose a new path.

Sources said there are serious criminal cases pending against Shibu Soren, father of Hemant Soren, which the Chief Minister would not like to be reopened. "In such circumstances, it is easy to put pressure on the Soren family", said a BJP source.

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