Assembly Elections

Raghuvar Das front runner for Jharkhand CM’s post

Jharkhand chief ministerial candidate Raghuwar Das (left) and former Chief Minister Arjun Munda at a meeting in Ranchi on Wednesday. Photo:Manob Chowdhury   | Photo Credit: Ranchi

A meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentary Board in New Delhi on Wednesday decided to send two leaders to Ranchi to hold meetings with the newly elected party MLAs in Jharkhand to choose the Chief Minister, but sources say a consensus has been reached in favour of Raghuvar Das, five-time legislator from Jamshedpur East.

BJP sources told The Hindu that Mr. Das’s long-time association with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah stood him in good stead in the race for the post. He would be the first non-tribal Chief Minister of the State .

Mr. Das, 59, a national vice-president of the party, who is originally from Chhattisgarh, defeated Congress candidate A.B. Dubey by 70,157 votes. Born on May 3, 1955, into a family from the Teli caste, included in the Other Backward Classes, he began his political career while working as a labourer at the Tata Steel plant in Jamshedpur. He had been a member of the Akhila Bhartitya Vidyarthi Parishad.

In 1995, he won the Assembly election from Jamshedpur East for the first time. Since then, he has held the seat. He became the Urban Development Minister in the National Democratic Alliance government, headed by Arjun Munda, in 2004-05 and was Deputy Chief Minister when Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Shibu Soren was the Chief Minister from December 2009 to May 2010.

Mr. Das is known for both his simplicity and leadership qualities. “I will always be the Das [servant] of the people of Jharkhand,” he said after the election results were announced on Tuesday. However, party leaders also point out that he is an ambitious leader who has played his cards well. As Urban Development Minister in 2005, Mr. Das faced allegations for awarding a Rs. 200-crore contract to a Singapore-based company, Meinhardt, for the construction and management of a sewage system for Ranchi. The company had allegedly violated the norms and regulations of the contract. While the then government gave him a clean chit, in January 2010, a report by a high-power committee set up by the Jharkhand Assembly, indicted him for favouring the company.

Two other cases have been pending against Mr. Das since September 2009. The first relates to resistance to, or obstruction of, lawful apprehension of another person (Section 225 of the Indian Penal Code) and the second to house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint (Section 452).

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Printable version | Jan 11, 2021 2:53:47 PM |

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