Jharkhand's political 'uncertainty' continues

Jharkhand's political 'uncertainty' continues
Ranchi, Jan 24 (PTI) Jharkhand witness to three Chief Ministers in three years, is once again struggling to avert a political crisis after the Congress' rejection of Chief Minister Madhu Koda's 'report' on his government's performance and two of its cabinet ministers hitting back the ally asking it not to 'humiliate' them.

Union Minister and AICC leader Ajay Maken said the Congress was not satisfied with the Koda report--a point-wise reply to the Congress' 19-point charter of demands which was handed over to the government on November 15 last year with a rider that it would review its outside support on January 15 if the work on the charter was not satisfactory.

"We are not happy with the report. The feed back given by state Congress leaders on the performance of the state government (between November 15 and January 15) was adverse as well," Maken told newsmen here on January 19, four days after the expiry.

'But any decision, whether to continue support or withdrawal to the government would be taken only after the Simaria assembly bypoll, that too after consulting with other allies," Maken, the party's incharge for Jharkhand affairs, added.

Reacting to Maken's assertions that the Congress was able to raise the twin issues of 'rampant corruption' and 'non-performance' in Jharkhand ever since its creation in 2000 Health Minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi and HRD Minister Bandhu Tirkey warned the AICC leader the same day not to 'hurt our sentiment without evidence.'

'Their suggestions are welcome. We are ready to address them...We are not horses that anybody can whip us,' said a disappointed Tirkey.

Asking the Congress to produce evidence for its corruption charges against some ministers, Sahi said the Congress was free to take its decision and he was ready to face the 'people's court' (mid-term elections).

The Chief Minister's claim that he had succeeded in initiating major development programmes in sixteen months what the BJP-led NDA government failed to do in six years and Maken's claim that the contrary has left the state in a political uncertainty.

"The government's performance is also not satisfactory.. Some of the present ministers were also a part of the NDA ministry," said Maken, indicating possibility of an adverse decision after Simaria polls, slated on February 4 and results for which will be announced on 7th.

The Koda regime, which has 42 members in the 82-member house (including one vacant), is banking on Simaria bypoll to increase its tally and thwart the BJP's political maneuvering.

But the bypoll has not helped in anyway to the ruling coalition vis-a-vis unity among the allies--the JMM and the RJD along with some others on one side and the Congress on the other side.

A former RJD's state unit president Yogendra Baitha joined the Congress on January 16 and filed his papers the next day, prompting the RJD leaders to accuse the Congress of playing 'dirty politics'.

But Maken rubbished the charge saying Baitha was given ticket only after the RJD decided not to contest the bypoll even as the RJD and the JMM publicly announcing their support to the CPI candidate, Ramchandra Ram.

Besides the JMM and the RJD leaders, Tirkey and Sahi also expressed their availability to campaign from the CPI candidate from Simaria, for which bypoll was necessitated following the death of a BJP MLA, Upendra Kumar Das, last year.

The BJP, supported by its ally JDU, fielded Das' son Kumar Ujjwal Das.

The CPI's state unit secretary and MP, B P Mehta, said he would request party's national general secretary A B Bardhan and RJD supremo and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad to campaign for their party candidate.

With the state Congress trying to romp in AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi for campaigning its candidate, an interesting battle is ahead as central UPA leaders or parties supporting the Manmohan Singh government crossing swords in Simaria.


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