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Ministers seek holy clout

Ranchi, Aug. 19: The Hemant Soren coalition government, which hasn’t yet inducted 12 members to the Cabinet, seems busy seeking divine blessings from all quarters to complete its tenure till Assembly term ends in December 2014.

Jai Prakash Bhai Patel, first time JMM MLA and urban development minister in the Hemant Cabinet, offered chadar yesterday at Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan “for the prosperity of the state”.

Piety and politics are going hand in hand in the state where coalitions tumble faster than a pack of cards. So, the list of VIP blessing-seekers is pretty long.

Hemant himself, with Cabinet colleague and tourism minister Suresh Paswan, offered puja at Baba Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar a week ago.

Cabinet colleague Annapurna Devi visited the Dhoni favourite — Ma Deori temple in Tamar, 60km from the capital — a fortnight ago.

A release issued by state information and public relations department stated Patel offered chadar at Ajmer Sharif, the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, yesterday.

It is no surprise that Patel, son of late Teklal Mahto and son-in-law of Mathura Prasad Mahto, both JMM heavyweights, wants a long innings in politics. With his cellphone ring tone chanting “Om Namah Shivah”, the MLA from Mandu (Hazaribagh) becomes the poster boy of secularism.

A senior bureaucrat waggishly said: “The state is virtually at the mercy of god. Let them (political leaders) offer puja, chadar. What problem do you journalists have?”

However, even after over a month of formation of the Hemant Soren-led JMM-Congress-RJD combine, the Cabinet has not received its full strength of ministers. Three Congress berths are still vacant.

As far as actual work goes, chief minister Hemant, finance minister Rajendra Prasad Singh and HRD minister Geetashree Oraon are the only ones seen regularly at Project Building. Ministers Simon Marandi and Suresh Paswan have not cleared a single file.

Some ministers are taking it easy for a reason. They expect additional charges in the course of the third expansion.