Even in India’s political circus, with its myriad permutations, combinations and ‘adjustments’, the switch of chief ministers in Jharkhand is not common. But it is not uncommon either.

Champai Soren had taken over as the Jharkhand CM on February 2, ahead of the arrest of sitting CM Hemant Soren in a money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate. On Wednesday, came the news that Hemant was set to return as CM, with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha legislature party electing him as its leader. Champai resigned as CM soon after, while Hemant met the Governor to stake claim.

Champai, 67, thus joined the ranks of others before him who ended up serving as “stop-gap” CMs as their leaders stepped away for some reason for the other, but mostly due to legal complications.

Inevitably, these examples involve regional parties, where the party chief also heads its legislature unit. Almost always, the return of the party supremo has caused some heartburn and instability.

Rabri Devi

The first time a sitting CM picked someone unexpected to replace him was Lalu Prasad. Forced to resign following an arrest warrant against him in the fodder scam case on July 25, 1997, Lalu resigned but picked his wife Rabri Devi, who till then had stayed away from political life, as his replacement. Rabri stayed in the post till President’s rule was imposed in the state in 1999.

Festive offer

While Lalu had been released from jail on bail by then, with other cases ongoing against him, Rabri continued and resumed office next year after President’s rule was revoked. Not just that, in the next Assembly polls, Rabri was the face of the party, and went on to remain CM till 2005, after which JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar’s reign began.

Rabri very much stayed on in the RJD and Bihar Assembly politics after that, with Lalu facing imprisonment and illness. Now, the turn of her younger son Tejashwi Yadav has begun, although she holds enough clout to ensure that the elder one, Tej Pratap Yadav, isn’t completely sidelined.

O Panneerselvam

When the AIADMK-led alliance returned to power in Tamil Nadu in 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that party supremo J Jayalalithaa could not assume office due to an ongoing disproportionate assets case against her. She went on to appoint her close confidant O Panneerselvam (OPS) as the CM. But, once the apex court overturned Jayalalithaa’s conviction and sentence in the case, OPS faithfully resigned, and “Amma” was sworn in as CM for the third time.

This sequence of events was repeated in 2014, after Jayalalitha had to step down as CM in September following conviction in the disproportionate assets case. Once again, OPS was entrusted with the responsibility of the chair.

After the Karnataka High Court acquitted Jayalalithaa in the DA case in May 2015, he again resigned to let the AIADMK supremo get sworn into office.

OPS would get another shot at power in December 2016, after Jayalalithaa’s death following prolonged illness. Within hours, her close aide Sasikala put together an alternative government with OPS as CM. But within two months, following fractures in the AIADMK, the party selected E Palaniswami to replace OPS as CM.

OPS would never get the CM chair again, and now finds himself expelled from the AIADMK after a failed rebellion against Palaniswami. In the recent Lok Sabha elections, which his small group of followers fought in alliance with the BJP, OPS lost from Ramanathapuram.

Jitan Ram Manjhi

Long before Jitan Ram Manjhi had launched his Hindustan Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S) party, he was known as an acolyte of JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar. After the JD(U) performed poorly in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, sitting Bihar CM Nitish Kumar unexpectedly resigned, taking responsibility for the results, and in another surprise, installed Manjhi, a Dalit leader and the SC-ST Welfare Minister in his previous government, as his replacement.

Nitish picked Manjhi despite the latter having himself lost in the Lok Sabha polls, coming third in Gaya. Leader of the Opposition Sushil Kumar Modi of the BJP called Manjhi a “dummy CM”, in response to which Manjhi claimed he was “no rubber stamp”.

With the JD(U) exiting the BJP-led NDA, and some JD(U) MLAs deserting, the possibility of the Manjhi government clearing a trust vote in the state Assembly looked difficult. But it survived after the RJD and Congress provided outside support.

However, the drama was hardly over. Ten months later, with the storm over the JD(U)’s Lok Sabha performance having blown over, Nitish asked Manjhi to resign to make way for his return as the CM. But, in a setback for Nitish, Manjhi refused, leading to his expulsion from the JD(U). The Governor then asked Manjhi to seek a vote of confidence, and the BJP offered his government support, sensing an opportunity for itself. However, Manjhi chose to resign and went on to launch his own party, the HAM-S, which promptly joined the BJP-led NDA.

After several shifts in alignment, the HAM-S fought the recent Lok Sabha polls under the NDA umbrella, including the JD(U). It won one seat.

Champai Soren

Champai has been a long-time JMM hand, known as the “Tiger of Kolhan (for his hold on the region he belongs to)” and as a trusted lieutenant of JMM president and Hemant Soren’s father Shibu during the fight for a separate state of Jharkhand in the 1990s. As Hemant faced arrest by the ED in the alleged land scam case in January this year, it was Champai he turned to as replacement.

But, within days of the Jharkhand High Court granting Hemant bail last week, Hemant nudged an unwilling Champai out. Sources told The Indian Express how Champai questioned the need for “hurry” in replacing him, and pointed out that the relief to Hemant was not permanent.

For now, Champai seems to have been placated, but with Assembly elections near, the JMM will be wary of any fallout in its support base.