Jharkhand Mukthi Morcha chief Shibu Soren [ Images ] was on Wednesday sworn in as chief minister of Jharkhand for the third time, along with two ministers from coalition partners, ending almost a year-long spell of President's rule in the state.
Besides 65-year old Soren, who heads a five-party coalition, BJP Jharkhand unit chief Raghubar Das and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) chief Sudesh Mahato were sworn in as ministers at Morabadi ground by Governor K Sankaranarayanan.
Soren has been directed by the governor to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly by January 8.
Asked about expansion of the ministry, a senior BJP leader said, "The ministry can be expanded after Guruji (Soren) takes the floor test."
Soren has secured the support of 44 MLAs--JMM 18, BJP 18, JDU-2 AJSU 5 and JJM 1--in the 81-member House after the Assembly elections in Jharkhand gave a fractured verdict. The Congress-JVMP combine has got 22 seats.
Soren had resigned in January this year after he failed to get himself elected to the Assembly in a by-poll. The JMM chief had staked claim to form the government on December 25, two days after the election results threw up a hung assembly.
Soren now heads the government with the help of the NDA for the first time. After taking oath, Soren said his topmost priority was to eradicate poverty and provide irrigation facilities to farmers.
"Pet mein anaj, khet mein pani (Eradication of poverty and irrigation for farmers)," he said when asked about his priorities.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Uttarakhand [ Images ] Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar [ Images ] Modi were prominent BJP leaders present at the swearing in.
Karuna Shukla, BJP national vice president and incharge of Jharkhand was also present.