One took a stroll of his departments, another chose to appease god and a third blushed over every bouquet and badhai, but at least three among Hemant Soren’s new cabinet ministers chose business the first day in office.
HRD minister Geetashree Oraon, finance boss Rajendra Prasad Singh and social welfare in-charge Annapurna Devi strictly wore the no-nonsense demeanour at Project Building, Ranchi, on Monday as they sifted through files, went into huddles and drew up their action plans.
The faithful in tourism minister Suresh Paswan, on the other hand, pined for a trip to Babadham every time he accepted floral greetings. Minority welfare and rural works head Simon Marandi hopped around his departments perhaps for first-hand knowledge. And, excise and urban development chief Jai Prakash Bhai Patel reached late, but didn’t miss his share of compliments from babus.
In a nutshell, the power corridors sprung to life after a veritable state of dormancy under President’s Rule. But, while most ministers basked in the glory of being anointed, ensuring they heard and answered every syllable of badhai, work went slo-mo at the state secretariat on an otherwise busy Monday.
Congress’s no-frills Geetashree was the first to arrive at Project Building around 11.30am.
In charge of sports, art, culture and youth affairs, besides HRD, she took briefings from department secretary D.K. Tiwari for more than an hour.
“My first aim is to fill up posts of teachers in schools. I also plan to open art colleges across the state,” Oraon said, admitting that it would take her a few more days to get a grip of departmental functioning.
RJD’s Paswan arrived at Project Building in the afternoon and headed straight for chief minister Hemant Soren’s chamber. After a tęte-ŕ-tęte, he went to cabinet colleague Annapurna Devi’s office and accepted bouquets from bureaucrats before heading home.
“It is because of Baba’s (read Lord Baidyanath) grace that I have been made a minister. I will first make an offering in Deoghar tomorrow (Tuesday) and then begin my work,” Paswan, who has also bagged the housing portfolio, said in defence of skipping work.
Simon Marandi, the senior-most JMM leader donning the ministerial berth for the first time, appeared laid-back. “I have heard that I have been assigned some departments. Since I was never a minister, I have little knowledge about what is where in this huge building. I am going around looking for my departments and familiarising myself with the place,” Simon said.
Building construction and industry minister Haji Hussain Ansari, who reached the secretariat around 1.30pm, did not appear too spirited, probably because this was his second stint in the Jharkhand cabinet.
Most ministers reached work — well, at least their workplace — with bodyguards in tow between noon and 1.30pm. But, JMM’s Jay Prakash Bhai Patel, who has been assigned urban development and excise, beat the latecomers’ record, breezing in at 4pm. He said he had been to Hazaribagh for some work in the morning.
While Patel stayed put in his chamber for sometime, transport and tribal welfare minister Champai Soren chose to remain closeted with Hemant, also his JMM colleague, till late in the afternoon and did not go to his chamber.
Like Geetashree Oraon, Congress’s Rajendra Prasad Singh and RJD’s Annapurna Devi, too, took their portfolios seriously.
The duo held brief meetings with their department secretaries. Singh conceded that state coffers were nearly empty, but would be filled up within a month.
Annapurna Devi, on her part, promised to curb atrocities against women and trafficking of tribal girls.
What expectations do you have from the new ministers?
|Oraon busies herself in paperwork at Project Building, Ranchi, on Monday
||Paswan makes a red beacon entry in the afternoon
|Social welfare minister Annapurna Devi (left) meets her department secretaries
||Industry minister Haji Hussain breezes in at 1.30pm.All pictures by Prashant Mitra
My first aim is to fill up posts of teachers in schools.
I also plan to open art colleges across the state.............Geetashree Oraon, HRD and sports, art, culture & youth affairs minister
It is because of Baba’s grace that I have been
made a minister.
I will first make an offering in
Deoghar and then begin
my work........................Suresh Paswan,