Ranchi, March 3: Unfazed by developments in the national capital and the dawn-to-dusk strike in the state called by the NDA to protest his installation as chief minister, Shibu Soren today went about the task of administering the state with a string of orders, all of which are to be complied with within a week or 10 days.
Roads have to be repaired, defective hand-pumps revived, ration cards distributed, electricity to be purchased from neighbouring states to maintain supply and improved water supply etc. figured prominently in the chief minister's priority 'wish-list'. The flurry of orders prompted Bandhu Tirkey, a minister, to exclaim, 'whether this government lasts or not, let the message go out that it is a government for the poor'.
Soren appointed two advisers during the day, both posts created last night and carrying with them cabinet ranks. While Pradeep Kumar Dixit was an adviser to Soren in the Union ministry of coal, Ranjit Sinha was a deputy minister in Jagannath Mishra's government in Bihar.
The chief minister also ordered that the editor of a Jamshedpur-based Hindi newspaper, Radheyshyam Agarwal, be notified as his press adviser.
He was, however, forced to withdraw the appointment of Supreme Court lawyer, J.S. Sinha, as the state's new advocate-general in the face of protests by lawyers in Jharkhand High Court. The lawyers maintained that both convention and practice, backed by rules, warranted a member registered with the state bar council to be appointed to the post. Sinha, personal lawyer of the chief minister, left for Delhi in the afternoon, though this morning, he was planning to assume office.
Accepting the resignation of the advocate-general, Anil Kumar Sinha, was one of the first decisions taken by Soren after he was sworn in yesterday. The issue acquired significance because Soren is undergoing trial in several criminal cases in the state. He had been granted conditional bail by the high court and asked to appear before the courts for expeditious trial.
Contrary to reports in a section of the media, the government clarified, nobody has so far been notified as the principal secretary to the chief minister.
Media reports had suggested that D.K. Tiwari, an IAS officer, had been appointed as such. But apparently bureaucrats are not too keen on the job till Soren wins the vote of confidence in the Assembly.
More than 2000 BJP workers were arrested while trying to enforce the strike, which was marked by violence, disruption of road and rail movements and clashes between BJP and JMM supporters.
BJP leader K.K. Poddar held out a threat to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi. 'We will make arrangements to ensure that he does not return to Ranchi,' he said menacingly.