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Assembly of good intent

Ranchi, Nov. 22: Politicians across party lines met for candid introspection at the House today as part of the ongoing statehood fortnight celebrations, touching upon issues as varied as lack of a permanent Assembly building, Jharkhand’s poor image and volatility of the past 13 years.

From governor Syed Ahmed to chief minister Hemant Soren of JMM, from former Speaker C.P. Singh of BJP to incumbent Shashank Shekhar Bhokta of JMM, everyone at the two-hour event agreed politicians needed to sink their differences for the state’s good.

Governor Ahmed stressed on “informed Assembly debates that reflect public sentiment”.

Ahmed, Bhokta and Singh were unanimous in wishing for a “permanent venue” for the state Assembly.

In response, chief minister Hemant promised quick action. “By this year-end, the foundation of the Assembly building will be laid,” he said.

Government sources said the new Assembly building might eye Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) land in Dhurwa. But the state move to acquire land is likely to be opposed by residents.

Admitting Jharkhand suffered from a poor image, Hemant urged people and politicians to break the stereotype. “Often, an excess of criticism is disheartening. I accept my limitations. I may be junior to a peon of this Assembly in experience but I am trying for change,” Hemant said.

BJP veteran Singh said the state lost precious 13 years making and breaking governments. “We could have used this time to develop the state,” Singh said.

Lobin Hembrom, JMM MLA from Borio; was felicitated as best MLA of the year at the same event.

“I wish MLA Hembrom raises his own bar,” Ahmed said, handing the winner a shawl, a citation and a cheque of Rs 51,000.

Hembrom said he would use the prize money to help a three-year-old visually challenged girl Sumitra Murmu of Sahebganj district.

Eighteen former MLAs of Undivided Bihar, elected in 1985 polls from constituencies, which fall in Jharkhand, were also felicitated.

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