JharkhandLok Sabha elections

Kalpana Soren’s Decisive Win and the Road Ahead

Jailed former chief minister Hemant Soren's wife secured a decisive victory in the Gandey assembly bypoll, overcoming initial trailing rounds. Her win comes amid the JMM's broader electoral challenges and sets the stage for her potential ministerial role in Jharkhand's government

Giridih: In her first political battle, Kalpana Soren, wife of jailed former chief minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, won decisively in the Gandey assembly bypoll. She defeated her nearest rival, Dilip Verma of the Bharatiya Janata Party, by 27,149 votes. Kalpana Soren received 109,827 votes, while Dilip Verma secured 82,678 votes.

In the initial four rounds, the JMM leader was trailing, but later she took the lead. Given the intensive campaigning, it was believed that the JMM leader would win by a larger margin. With Hemant Soren unable to secure bail in a land scam case, it will be important to watch the political steps the JMM-led Gathbandhan government takes after Kalpana Soren becomes a member of the Jharkhand assembly.

Three months ago, Kalpana Soren made her first public speech, during which she cried over her husband’s imprisonment. Political observers believe she will be made a minister in Champai Soren’s government. Under her leadership, the JMM may contest the next assembly polls scheduled for December this year.

A confident Kalpana thanked Gandey voters as well as INDIA leaders for her victory. However, she did not speak about her role in the Jharkhand government.

Giridih JMM MLA Sudivya Sonu also sent a message about playing the role of an anchor in the win of former chief minister’s wife as Sonu was driving the car, in which Kalpana Soren came to collect her certificate at the counting center.

Challenges Ahead

However, as Kalpana’s bypoll coincided with the Lok Sabha Elections, her party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and the INDIA bloc did not win as many seats as expected. In the Giridih and Koderma Lok Sabha seats, JMM and INDIA bloc candidates lost to the BJP and its ally AJSU. The INDIA bloc candidates lost all seats in the North Chotanagpur area of Jharkhand – including Giridih, Koderma, Dhanbad, Hazaribagh, and Chatra. They also did not win the state capital seat, Ranchi, or important seats like Jamshedpur and Godda.

INDIA won in Khunti, where two-time chief minister Arjun Munda lost to Kalicharan Munda; Dumka, where Sita Soren, the rebel daughter-in-law of Shibu Soren, was defeated by Nalin Soren; Singhbhum, where former chief minister Madhu Koda’s wife Geeta Koda was defeated by Joba Manjhi; and Lohardaga, where Sukhdev Bhagat won.

Now, the real challenge begins for Kalpana Soren as she must strengthen the gathbandhan in the forthcoming assembly polls.

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