Horse Trading Charges in RS Polls Mar 2012 for J'khand
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Ruling ally JMM keeping Chief Minister Arjun Munda on tenterhooks, scrapping of Rajya Sabha elections on horse trading ground and a marginal decline in Maoist violence marked the year 2012 for Jharkhand.

Munda, who recovered fast after surviving the helicopter accident along with his wife and others on May 9, tried to accelerate progressive schemes, but the pulls and pressures of coalition politics continued to put spokes in his efforts.

He was under constant pressure after JMM supremo Shibu Soren claimed that there was a "deal" of 28-month-a-side power sharing formula with the BJP that "will end in January". Soren's claim sparked off a barrage of verbal claims and denials by leaders of both the allies with the developmental works getting a beating in the last quarter.

Initially Munda did not believe after media reported Soren's claims from Bokaro of power sharing formula and the former blamed the media for "putting words" in Soren's mouth.

But the JMM chief's voice grew louder as months wore on and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha intervened to say that there had been no such deal with the JMM even as Soren's son and Deputy Chief Minister Hemant Soren saying his father "must be right over such a deal".

"The political scenario appeared stable in the first half of the year, but it gradually dragged towards uncertainty due to contradictory statements, pushing Jharkhand politics through a transition phase," senior BJP MLA Raghuvar Das observed on the JMM's claim of the deal.

All along, junior ally AJSU, under the leadership of Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto, silently went on with strengthening its position, and it reflected in the Ajsu candidate Navin Jaiswal's win in the Hatia assembly bypoll.

Mahto was also successful in alluring some prominent leaders and former Maoists into his party-fold.

Jharkhand politicians cut a sorry figure when the Election Commission scrapped polls to Rajya Sabha for two seats on March 30 and held a re-poll on May 3 following cash seizure from a car on the previous poll day.

The CBI had registered a case after the police recovered Rs 2.15 crore from a car allegedly belonged to a relative of independent candidate R K Agarwal on the polling day leading to the countermanding of the poll.

The agency had so far conducted raids on the premises of over 20 MLAs and a former member of the Rajya Sabha in this connection to obtain evidence.

Anti-displacement movements across the state also proved to be a roadblock in the development process and the high court had to intervene to set up an educational hub in the 227 acre acquired in the 1950s at Nagri near Ranchi. Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantric) president and former chief minister Babulal Marandi resorted to a 22-day dharna in support of the displaced people.

He ended his demonstration only after obtaining assurance from the Panem Coal Mines Limited that it would implement its commitment in return of land taken from villagers within six months.

The anti-displacement activists kept ArcelorMittal out of state for another year, after the steel tycoon signed the multi-crore green field project way back in 2005.

In its slow progress in completion of fodder scam cases, the CBI could complete only five cases ending in convictions this year, taking the total convictions to 43 out of 53 fodder cases.

Around 200 ex-Animal Husbandry Department officials and fodder suppliers were convicted this year. The Rs 950-crore Animal Husbandry Department scam had been unearthed during RJD chief Lalu Prasad rein in Bihar and Prasad facing five cases against him.

Though obtaining two bails from the high court, former chief minister Madhu Koda, who was arrested on November 30, 2009, is still in jail in connection with other corruption cases along with his ex-minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi.

However, his former cabinet colleagues, Harinarain Rai, Enos Ekka and Kamlesh Singh managed to get bails in the later part of the year. All of them had been arrested in 2009.

Though the Maoists struck in a big way on January 21, killing 13 police personnel by a landmine blast at Bariganwa forest in Garhwa district, yet the police did not allow the rebels to dominate unlike in previous years.

The second major red strike was on November 9 in Giridih when Maoists intercepted a transit prison van, killed three policemen and a jail inmate before freeing eight Maoists -- one rebel was later found in a hospital lying injured while another came back.

The state police and the paramilitary forces kept up pressure on Maoists with continuous combing operation in Garhwa, Palamau, Latehar, Chatra, Khunti, Hazaribagh and other Naxal-affected districts.

The security forces recovered a large number of landmines, IEDs, US-made rifle, rockets, explosives and other weapons during statewide raids.

The year, however, witnessed sudden emergence of another banned Naxal group, People's Liberation Front of India (PLFI), disturbing peace and life in Khunti, Gumla and Ranchi districts. PLFI ultras killed several civilians and indulging in turf war with the Maoists.
Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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