Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren will expand his cabinet on February 16, rescheduling the event which was initially planned for Thursday, a minister said.
“The swearing-in ceremony has been deferred. Now, it will take place at 3 pm on February 16 at Raj Bhavan here,” state minister Alamgir Alam told PTI on Wednesday.
He cited the two-day second leg of ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ led by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the state starting on February 14 as the reason for the change of schedule of the swearing-in event.
Gandhi’s yatra is scheduled to enter Jharkhand on February 14 from Chhattisgarh and proceed to Bihar on February 15.
Champai Soren, the 67-year-old Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader, was sworn in as the 12th chief minister of the state on February 2, after his predecessor Hemant Soren was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate last week in a money laundering case.
On the same day, two ministers – Alamgir Alam of Congress and Satyanand Bhokta of RJD – also took oath.
The Congress and the RJD are part of the ruling alliance.
According to constitutional provisions, Jharkhand can have a maximum of 12 ministers, including the chief minister.
During the previous Hemant Soren government’s term, one berth remained vacant.
Regarding the selection of MLAs for the council of ministers, Alam said it is yet to be decided by the Congress.
“I do not know whether the JMM has selected their MLAs for the council of ministers,” he said.
A JMM source said the party might select most of the legislators who were in the Hemant Soren cabinet, with a possibility of one or two changes.
Jharkhand’s JMM-led coalition government headed by Chief Minister Champai Soren won the vote of confidence on February 5.
Forty-seven legislators voted in favour of the confidence motion in the 81-member assembly, while 29 MLAs opposed it.
The majority alliance has 47 MLAs — JMM 29, Congress 17 and RJD 1 in the Jharkhand assembly. The BJP has 26 members and the AJSU Party has three. The NCP and CPI (ML) have one lawmaker each, apart from two Independents. There is also one nominated member.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)