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Bebi Devi takes oath as minister in Jharkhand

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RANCHI, July 3 (PTI): Former Jharkhand minister Jagarnath Mahto’s wife Bebi Devi was sworn-in as a minister in the Hemant Soren-led UPA government in Jharkhand on Monday.

Governor C P Radhakrishnan administered the oath of office and secrecy to her at a programme in Raj Bhawan.

The chief minister and other cabinet ministers were present at the event.

Soren said in a social media post that the government will fulfil the dreams and incomplete works of late Jagarnath Mahto.

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Extending congratulations to Devi, Soren said that she has been a witness to Mahto’s struggle and public service. Fifty-year-old Devi became the eleventh minister in the Hemant Soren cabinet.

Jagarnath Mahto held the charge of school education and literacy and excise. Jharkhand can have a maximum of 12 ministers, including the chief minister.

Mahto, who was a four-time JMM MLA from Dumri in Giridih district, died during treatment at a Chennai hospital on April 6 after a prolonged illness due to Covid-19 complications.

Devi is the second JMM leader in the incumbent UPA government to become a minister before being elected to the Assembly.

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Earlier, Hafizul Ansari was sworn-in as minister on February 6, 2021. Later, he won the Madhupur by-poll on May 2, 2021.

Mother of five children, Devi stayed away from politics, said her son Akhilesh Mahto. However, she supported her late husband in his social activities in Dumri, the assembly constituency of the former minister, he said.

Peeved at the Raj Bhawan authorities for not allowing some JMM leaders accompanying him to attend the programme, Jharkhand minister Mithilesh Thakur did not participate in the event.

“The induction of Bebi Devi as a minister in the Hemant Soren Cabinet is a true tribute to late Jagarnath Mahto,” the minister told reporters outside the Raj Bhawan.

Senior JMM leader and transport minister Champai Soren exuded confidence that the party would now win Dumri bypoll with a comfortable margin.

“Following the path shown by Jagarnath Babu, she will fulfil his unrealised dreams,” he said.

The by-election for the Dumri assembly seat is yet to be announced.

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