Dumka's R-Day pangs

Dumka, Jan. 24: This Republic Day will serve a second reminder to people in Dumka that in Jharkhand, changes in the political establishment crudely mimic the number of times the Tricolour is unfurled on important dates.

Thanks to the fresh stint of President's Rule, Santhal Pargana commissioner Surendra Singh Meena will do the honours ' otherwise reserved for the chief minister ' during Republic Day at police grounds here on Saturday.

Since Dumka was accorded the status of Jharkhand's sub-capital in 2002, the chief minister has been gracing the flag-hoisting ceremony on Republic Day and the governor on Independence Day.

But after 2009, this Republic Day is set to be another low-key affair as the chief minister's absence has diminished enthusiasm among everyone.

"Although not a single event that was scheduled from earlier on Republic Day has been cancelled, the chief minister's absence will automatically lend the function a modest character," remarked an official of the district administration.

Sticking to convention, the administration has readied tableaux of government departments showcasing activities taken up for public welfare.

Cultural programmes by schoolchildren are also scheduled at indoor stadium tomorrow evening. But a teacher conceded, "The chief minister's absence as the main guest has certainly dampened our zest, but children are leaving no stone unturned to perform."

In 2009, the then divisional commissioner hoisted the Tricolour on Republic Day after a dramatic ouster of Shibu Soren from the post of chief minister following his defeat in the Tamar Assembly by-election.

Soren did get the opportunity a year later in Dumka ' the epicentre of the statehood movement led by him and Lok Sabha seat he has represented multiple times ' after he was back in the chief minister's chair with NDA support.

"Had the Congress supported us to form an alternative government led by Guruji, he would have got another opportunity to attend Republic Day here as the chief minister," rued a senior JMM functionary.

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