The Kanke Road residence in Ranchi that was home to Arjun Munda. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Like father, like son. Hemant Soren has decided to stay away from the chief minister’s official residence at 3 Kanke Road, following in the footsteps of father Shibu.
Hemant prefers his present address on Meyers Road — it was allotted to him when he was deputy chief minister in the Arjun Munda government — a stone’s throw from 3 Kanke Road.
His father Shibu, who held the office of chief minister thrice — from March 2, 2005, to March 12, 2005, from August 27, 2008, to January 18, 2009, and again from December 30, 2009, to May 31, 2010 — also preferred his Morabadi home over the Kanke residence during his first and last tenures.
When Hemant took oath of office on July 13, a host of activities was initiated to spruce up the historic edifice on Kanke Road.
But Soren Junior, an avid astrology buff, has finally decided to not enter the official residence, which many in political circles consider “jinxed” because none of its VIP occupants had been able to complete his term.
All former chief ministers, including Guruji, had attempted Vastu corrections before moving into the sprawling compound. After former chief minister Munda survived a chopper crash in May last year, he got a Hanuman temple built in the vicinity. But, as fate would have it, Munda lost his chair, too.
Probably, taking a cue from these experiences, Hemant doesn’t want to take any chance. Though no one has officially cited “vastu problem”, JMM sources, who are close to him, have made it clear that the chief minister is “reluctant” to shift to the official residence.
Party general secretary and close aide of the Sorens, Vinod Pandey said: “Mukhiya mantri ghar se jyada rajya ki fikar mein hai. Us ghar mein rahe, ya es ghar mein, kaam hona chahiye jo wo kar raha hain. (More than the house, the chief minister is concerned about development of the state. Irrespective of the residence, work should go on, which he is doing),” he said.
The Kanke house, he added, was being converted into a residential office. “Work has already begun,” he said.
There are two buildings, including the old SDO residence, between 3 Kanke Road and Hemant’s current address.
“Work is on to build connectivity of sorts between the two residences,” JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharjee told The Telegraph on Sunday.
Why all this trouble?
“I would say that Hemant has been staying in the same house for long and has developed an attachment. And therefore, he doesn’t want to shift,” Pandey put it diplomatically.
The residence at 3 Kanke Road had last seen a steady flow of visitors when Arjun Munda was in power. Munda vacated the premises along with his family on April 21, 2013.