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 Shani temple.
But the crowds thronging the Morabadi football ground here were disappointed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to make it to the event because he couldn’t take off from New Delhi due to bad weather.
A thick fog in northern India also prevented BJP president Amit Shah, party veteran 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 in the Dumka assembly constituency. The AJSU representative in the ministry is Chandra Prakash Chaudhary.
This is first time a non-tribal will lead the government in Jharkhand. All previous nine chief ministers were tribals.
A five-time legislator, Das was elected the BJP legislature party leader Friday after the BJP 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.
Das, a law graduate, belongs to a large family and has three brothers and three sisters. He married Rukmani Devi and has a son and a daughter.
He was elected a legislator for the first time in 1995 from Jamshedpur east to the then Bihar state assembly. When Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar in 2000, he became labour minister in Babulal Marandi’s government.
He was a minister in Arjun Munda’s government too. After the 2009 assembly polls, Das became the deputy chief minister in the Shibu Soren government.
Jharkhand has become the eight state to come under the BJP rule. The party is a part of ruling alliance in two other states – Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.
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).”
Modi could not attend the swearing-in ceremony due to a thick fog in Delhi which reduced visibility to less than 50 metres. Many in the crowd expressed unhappiness on not seeing Modi on the dias.
“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. Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari, and former chief ministers Arjun Munda of the BJP, Hemant Soren of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and Babulal Marandi of the Jharkhand Viks Morcha-P.