Soren after being conferred the title. Pix: Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, Dec. 21: Bestowed with the rare honour of a politician being conferred the Jagat Guru (leader of the universe) title, Shibu Soren was obviously in an upbeat mood today.
So cheerful indeed that he lauded the efforts of Tata Steel and gave the company full marks for doing a good job in the interest of the state.
This was a complete U-turn from his opinion about the company last month, when he alleged that Tata Steel was not bothered about the welfare of the local people and tribals. At a function held at Gopal Maidan on November 9, the chief minister had also criticised the company officials for adopting an anti-tribal stand.
In contrast, Soren — who was in the city to attend the 4th International Santhal Conference at Tata auditorium — described the steel company as an asset for the state.
He also advised other companies across the state to follow the footprints of the steel major, which, “apart from achieving new heights in steel production”, had “made a mark with its corporate social responsibility”.
When asked by reporters about the sudden change of stand about Tata Steel, Soren said: “There is no question of change in my stand. Tata Steel is a Jharkhand-based company and has served the state for 100 years. The company is doing a good job and all its actions are aimed at social uplift.”
Earlier during the function, Soren was conferred with the title of Jagat Guru. The chief minister happens to be the 10th recipient of the title given by the International Santhal Council.
The list of recipients of this title include tribal IAS and IPS officers and Santhali writers. Soren is the only politician in that list.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the function, Soren called upon the tribals to protect their cultural heritage.
Prominent Santhali writers and academics from across the country and abroad are taking part in the two-day conference.
“International Santhal Council is an organisation working for the uplift of Santhali language, literature, culture and script. To promote all these aspects of Santhali life, it is essential to have government sponsorship as well as help from other organisations,” said Prithibi Manjhi, the president of this year’s International Santhal Conference and labour minister of Assam.
He also said that the council aims to bring awareness among all Santhals, motivate them to remain united in the world and develop fellow feelings among themselves.
The last such conference was organised at New Delhi in 1995. International Santhal Council’s international conferences were also organised at Nepal in 1993 and Assam in 1991.