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Hemant’s R-Day duty in Ranchi

Jawans of 3 Mahar Regiment rehearse for Republic Day at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi on Thursday. (Prashant Mitra)

Ranchi/Dumka, Jan. 23: Chief minister Hemant Soren will unfurl the Tricolour at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi this Republic Day in the wake of unavailability of governor Syed Ahmed due to health reasons.

The state government today received a concurrence from the Union home ministry in response to its query sent yesterday as to who would do the honour in the state capital in the absence of the governor.

“Chief minister Hemant Soren will do it (hoist the national flag in the capital). We have received a concurrence in this matter from the Centre,” chief secretary R.S. Sharma told The Telegraph.

Yesterday, Raj Bhavan informed the government about the unavailability of Ahmed, who is currently recuperating at Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai following a surgery.

“Governor saab went to Mumbai a week ago for treatment. The operation has been successful but doctors have now advised him bed rest for next three-four days,” a Raj Bhavan source said.

Today being a state holiday in view of the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a decision on who would hoist the flag in Dumka could not be taken.

The decision on the matter will be taken tomorrow.

Conventionally, the governor hoists the Tricolour in the state capital on the R-Day, while the chief minister does the honour in Dumka.

But on the occasion of Independence Day, the governor unfurls the flag in Dumka, while the chief minister attends the event in the state capital. Source said this was going to be the first time when the governor would be absent during the R-Day celebrations in Ranchi after Jharkhand’s formation.

Constitutional expert Subhash Kashyap told The Telegraph there was no hard and fast rule as to who between the governor and the chief minister should unfurl the flag in the capital.

Raj Bhavan sources said since the time of unified Bihar, the governor used to hoist the flag in the capital (Patna then) and the chief minister would do the onus in the second capital (Ranchi). The practice continued after Jharkhand was formed and Dumka became the second capital.

Naturally, the R-Day celebrations in the sub-capital will be a low-key affair this year.

The district administration had made elaborate arrangements for a gala R-Day event where schemes worth Rs 200 crores were to be unveiled. Also, the JMM was planning to utilise the platform to woo electorate in view of the coming general elections.

Initially, Hemant was scheduled to arrive here today itself and stay till January 26.

Yesterday, his three-day visit was cut short and he was expected to return on Saturday. Today, the administration declared that the chief minister’s visit had been postponed in the wake of the death of former deputy chief minister and a senior JMM leader from Kolhan region Sudhir Mahto yesterday.

In all likelihood, Santhal Pargana commissioner Ashok Kumar Mishra will now hoist the national flag here.