"People Will Give A Fitting Reply": Hemant Soren To NDTV Day After Release From Jail

The former Jharkhand chief minister also accused the BJP of misusing agencies.

Elections in Jharkhand are likely to be held around November.

A day after he was released on bail, having spent five months behind bars following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in a land scam case, former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren has hit out at the BJP for "framing" him and said the people of the state will give the party a befitting reply in the Assembly elections, due later this year.

In an exclusive interview with NDTV on Saturday, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader also played down his struggles and said his father, former chief minister and party chief Shibu Soren, and others in his party have had to face much worse.

Attacking the BJP over his arrest, Mr Soren repeated a charge that has been lobbed often at the ruling party and claimed that it was misusing agencies. Stating that the action against him is proof that the voices of the poor, tribals and farmers are being suppressed, he said the people of the state have seen everything and will make their displeasure known in the elections, likely to be held around November.

Jharkhand is ruled by a coalition led by the JMM, which has 27 MLAs, followed by the Congress, which has 18 in the 81-member house. The alliance, part of the larger INDIA bloc, also includes the RJD and the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, which have one seat each.

Asked about his time in prison, the JMM leader said, "Our party chief Shibu Soren and many other leaders of the party have fought an even harder battle, this is nothing in front of them. Now we are on the frontlines and I have also got an opportunity to understand things and understand conspiracies (plotted against us)."

On the cases in which he is named, he said, "The court has given an order, it is available online. Look at that and assess how the voices of the poor, Dalits, backwards and farmers are being suppressed. These five months that I was in jail... for a poor person, a farmer, every moment and every hour is precious."

His, Wife's Future?

After Mr Soren's arrest, the party's number three, Champai Soren, became chief minister. This followed rumours of Hemant Soren's wife, Kalpana, taking the reins, and his sister-in-law, Sita Soren, also quit the party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections amid a perceived power struggle.

To a question on whether he would become chief minister again, Mr Soren said, "I will look at all of this later. I just came out yesterday. I am with the party workers and am being welcomed by them. My beloved workers have reposed their trust in me and I am sharing in their enthusiasm. I am not looking at the government or the party for now. All of this will be seen in the time to come and will be communicated to you."

Kalpana Soren played an active role when Mr Soren was behind bars and also attended INDIA alliance meetings. When the JMM leader was asked about her future role, he said,  "She is my wife and we are from a political family. My father has been in politics and so have my elder brother, my wife and I. Our opponents will call it dynastic politics, but I will only say everyone should work according to their capacity."