Tweeting in change – States News

Everyone, irrespective of caste and community, is entitled to quality education. The family’s financial constraints cannot be allowed to become an impediment. Deputy commissioner, Gumla, take cognisance of the report, do the needful and update.”

This was Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren’s tweet on February 14, with which he tagged a newspaper report on how Amisha, a state-level school topper, was struggling to pursue her education because of financial hardships. The post had an electrifying effect. Within three days, Gumla deputy commissioner Shashi Ranjan met Amisha’s parents and assured them of help. “We are making all arrangements so that Amisha, who is studying in Ranchi, faces no hindrance in her studies,” Ranjan told India Today.

From ordering an air ambulance for a girl facing renal failure to reuniting a homeless woman with her son, from providing relief to a dead army jawan’s wife to ordering a probe into how tribal land was transferred to a hospital, Soren has turned Twitter into a governance tool. Since assuming charge on December 29, he has sent more than 250 tweets related to governance matters, keeping officials on their toes. Now, the chief minister’s Twitter handle is regularly tagged by people airing their grievances on social media. Once Soren takes up these complaints, his office pursues them. Sources in the chief minister’s office (CMO) say Soren’s Twitter handle is managed by the same team that ran his social media campaign during the assembly election.

The headstrong Soren of his first stint as Jharkhand chief minister (July 2013 to December 2014)-when he fired three ministers from his cabinet despite his government’s wafer-thin majority-appears to have reinvented himself. In his second innings, he has really upped the outreach of the CMO.

Soren’s tweets are advertising his outreach and keeping officials on their toes

Soren started his tenure with the magnanimous gesture of dropping an FIR he had filed during the election campaign against his predecessor Raghubar Das. But he vows to remain unsparing of officials who have pending cases against them. Like additional director general of police Anurag Gupta, whose suspension he ordered on February 14; Gupta is accused of misusing his position in the 2016 Rajya Sabha election. While the Election Commission had ordered departmental action against Gupta in June 2017 and an FIR was subsequently registered, the Das government did not pursue the case. “Soren could have suspended Gupta immediately after taking over but he took more than 45 days to do so. The idea is to not appear to be someone who has scores to settle,” says a senior IPS officer, on condition of anonymity.

Soren has also ordered a scrutiny of projects undertaken by the road construction department, which was headed by Das. Sources say discrepancies have surfaced in the rates fixed for construction work in this and other departments during Das’s tenure.

However, bureaucrats are apprehensive that the Soren government may go soft on radical tribal activists. Soren’s first cabinet meeting, in which it was decided to drop sedition cases against Pathalgadi movement leaders, kindled these fears. However, he has sought to ally those fears by visiting, this January, the homes of seven villagers killed in an alleged strike by pro-Pathalgadi elements in West Singhbhum district and issuing a warning that such incidents would not be tolerated.

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