Sita who rebelled for 15 years in Soren family, joined BJP

Sita Soren, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MLA and daughter-in-law of its founder Shibu Soren, quit the party and split from the family. She joined the BJP with her daughters in a crucial election year. Sita Soren's dissent didn't come overnight but was a result of 15 years of dissatisfaction.
Sita who rebelled for 15 years in Soren family, joined BJP
Jaano Junction

It was 2009 when Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) lost its heir apparent, Durga Soren. He was just 39.

Durga, the eldest son of JMM patriarch and founder Shibu Soren, was seen as the successor of the party.

Among the Soren siblings -- Durga, Hemant and Basant, and sister Anjani -- it was the eldest, Durga, who would have taken over the reins of JMM, but his life was cut short.

Durga Soren was survived by his wife Sita and daughters, Rajshree, Jayshree and Vijayshree.

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Sita who rebelled for 15 years in Soren family, joined BJP

Durga Soren was at the forefront of the battle for a separate state of Jharkhand. As the Soren family moved on without him, his wife and daughters formed a separate power centre within the JMM.

Fifteen years later, the widowed wife of Durga Soren, a three-time MLA from JMM, resigned from all her party posts. She also resigned from the Jama seat of the Jharkhand Assembly. She alleged a conspiracy against her and her daughters.

"We (herself and children) have been separated and isolated by members of the party and the (Soren) family, which has been extremely painful for me," she said in a letter to her father-in-law, 'Guruji Baba'.

"The party is now in the hands of people whose vision and objectives do not match our values and principles," she wrote.

She further alleged that "a deep conspiracy was being hatched against her and her family".

Hours after her resignation, Sita Soren joined the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in New Delhi, on Tuesday.

Between the two important incidents of her life, Sita Soren, who said she was "compelled" to leave JMM, had seen a series of sidelining by the party and the family. After joining the BJP, Sita alleged that she was considered 'an untouchable in the JMM', even after serving it for 14 years (14 years 10 months)."

The development comes ahead of the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections and the Jharkhand Assembly polls later this year.

Be it, after the coronation of Hemant Soren, to the promotion of his wife Kalpana Soren, and from Sita's daughters floating a political outfit, to accusing the JMM government of 'enabling the loot of land and forests of Jharkhand' Sita had always voiced her growing dissatisfaction and dissent from the central Soren family, which leads the JMM.

After the tragic death of Shibu's eldest son, Durga Soren, at the age of 39, Sita saw herself as the natural successor of the political legacy of her husband and father-in-law, Shibu Soren. The sense of being the JMM custodian has been underlined by Sita Soren time and again.

She saw Hemant Soren being handed over the party reigns founded by Shibu and groomed by her husband Durga Soren.

Durga Soren, till he lived, held the top spot in JMM, despite his father Shibu Soren being the party chief.

"Many times Durga Soren would not even listen to Shibu Soren and would go on with his fancies," a Ranchi-based senior journalist told IndiaToday.In on condition of anonymity.

The daughters of Sita Soren and Durga Soren were early to show signs of dissent.

As early as 2021, the daughters too joined their mother in taking on the Hemant Soren-led JMM government. Rajshree and Jayshree floated an outfit named after their deceased father, despite the JMM having both a students' organisation and a youth wing.

They floated the 'Durga Soren Sena', on the Vijayadashami of 2021, with "the aim of fighting corruption, displacement and plunder in Jharkhand".

Sita's daughter clarified that the outfit was not a political one and said that they had the blessings of their grandfather, Shibu Soren.

However, months later, 12 "rebel" JMM members, expelled for "anti-party activities" joined the 'Durga Soren Sena'.

"The 'Durga Soren Sena' has been working in the grassroots in the Santhal Pargana (Godda, Deoghar, Dumka, Jamtara, Sahibganj and Pakur districts) region of Jharkhand, JMM's stronghold. Sita Soren, through the Durga Soren Sena, had sought to put forth an alternative in the region," a Ranchi-based senior journalist told IndiaToday.In.

The JMM stayed tight-lipped with Sita Soren, the daughters and the outfit that clearly looked to harness the legacy.

Back in August 2022, Jharkhand was seeing an intense political drama and the ruling JMM government's existence was in danger. CM Hemant Soren was also facing attacks from the opposition and scrutiny by the central agencies.

Months earlier, Sita Soren, the sitting JMM MLA met Governor Ramesh Bais to complain about illegal mining and corruption in the state.

"The vision of Guruji (Shibu Soren, JMM supremo) and my husband, Jal, Jungle, Jameen (water, forest and land), is being destroyed, Sita Soren accused in April 2022.

"Corrupt officers are being shielded. The people had hoped for our government, but now they are disappointed,” said Sita Soren, which looked like a direct attack on Hemant Soren and his government.

Sita Soren's dissatisfaction came out after the resignation and arrest of Hemant Soren in January, too.

As Hemant Soren's arrest became imminent, his wife Kalpana was projected as Hemant Soren's successor, who was being groomed by the party. Kalpana was seen as Plan B then.

During the political turmoil in Jharkhand, it was believed that Sita Soren, along with a handful of JMM MLAs, were not onboard the JMM's Plan B.

However, Champai Soren, a Soren family loyalist, was made the Jharkhand CM. Champai Soren along with his cabinet took the oath of office. Sita Soren, a JMM MLA for the third time, was not included in the cabinet. She has also been to the Rajya Sabha once.

Sita Soren saw it all. And less than a couple of months after her exclusion, sources said that she would join the BJP in New Delhi.

However, an aspect of Sita Soren’s resignation that must not be overlooked is that she is facing trial for taking bribes in lieu of voting. The judgement of the case in the Supreme Court is expected soon. The apex court said that lawmakers who take bribes to vote or speak in a certain manner in the House are not immune from prosecution.

Sita Soren was accused of accepting a bribe from an independent candidate in the 2012 Rajya Sabha elections.

Thus, Sita Soren's isolation and dissatisfaction, spanning over a decade, and her journey with the JMM come to an end. Her resignation from JMM and joining the BJP would add to the list of defecting lawmakers across party lines, joining the BJP before the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha polls. By joining the BJP, as the party would look to boost its poll prospects in Jharkhand, Sita Soren would gain more than what she got with her time with the party her husband nurtured.

Source: India Today

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