From calling politics hard work, talking about the shift from being a revolutionary’s son to becoming a politician, appealing to parents to encourage girl children to participate in sports, and nearly breaking his nose while playing during his childhood, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren Monday tackled a range of questions during a press conference.
However, these questions were not asked by regular journalists, but by ‘child reporters’ on Children’s Day at his official residence in Ranchi.
The ‘child reporters’ were a group of children who have been trained by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on their rights where ‘children join forces and take up social issues in their schools and communities’. UNICEF has been working on this issue for the last 12 years and in Jharkhand for the last few years. The ‘child reporters’ from Ranchi’s seven blocks came to question the CM.
UNICEF’s Jharkhand head Dr Kanika Mitra said in a bid to encourage participation, empowerment, and leadership among the children, the press conference was organised to give children a platform, said a press release about the event.
Among the many questions, ‘child reporter’ Karan Kumar Ojha asked Soren to talk about those who played an important role in his success. To this Soren said, “My parents helped and especially my wife who has been supportive throughout. I spend 20 hours out of 24 working for the state. And, I am not able to spend time with my family, especially my children: when I leave for the office they had already left for school, and when I come back they would get past sleep.”
“People think that politics is good and glamorous, but it is just the opposite. It makes me worry about my people and the government work that needs to be done, and it is a very hard job. One needs the support of the family.”
Soren touched on a range of topics from learnings from his father, and his feelings when he meets children. Soren said he learned a lot from his father’s sacrifice and company. He also emphasised on how his government is focussed on giving the girl child financial help of up to Rs 40, 000 till the age of 18.
On becoming a CM:
“I had never thought about it in my childhood. My father was a revolutionary, which is different from being a politician. A lot of issues happened with my family from which politics emanated. And, it is by chance that I became a politician.”
On parents not allowing their girl child to participate in sports, shattering their confidence:
“I will request the parents of such girl children to let them play if they are interested. Sports play an equal role compared to studies. The girls will make the country proud and maybe a leader in the world someday.”
On initiatives to provide equal opportunity to girls and boys in sports:
“Astam Oraon, who represented India in the under-17 football series as a captain, is a great example. Many women are excelling in various sports such as hockey, archery, and football among others despite several odds. Our government is focused on encouraging each and every player such as we brought in sports policy among others.”
On sports he liked in his childhood:
“This is a very challenging question. Barring corporate sports, I played all kinds of sports, and also sustained injuries: broke my tooth, injured my nose, and got bruises on my legs and hand. I used to swim, play badminton and cricket among others. We organise cricket matches for our MLAs where I also play.”