Jharkhand CM hastens with common programme to avert crisis


Ranchi : Coalition governments function better under threat and Jharkhand appears to be a classic example.

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The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in Jharkhand has drafted a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) in a record time of two days just ahead of the expiry of the 60-day Congress ultimatum to the government to shape up. The ultimatum expires Tuesday.

The state government, led by Independent member Madhu Koda, had been dragging feet over the Common Minimum Programme for the last 16 months since it was formed till the Congress piled pressure.

The Congress, one of the dominant partners in Madhu Koda’s fragile coalition government with nine ministers, threatened that it would pull out if the chief minister did not improve his style of functioning. One of the demands was the drafting of a CMP. On November 15, the Congress served a 60-day “shape-up” notice.

The Congress is sticking to its stand.

The draft CMP was submitted to Chief Minister Madhu Koda Sunday night. It will be unveiled Tuesday.

“The CMP has been prepared considering the agenda of the all the supporting parties,” said health minister Bhanu Pratap Shahi, who drafted it along with Deputy Chief Minister Stephen Marandi.

Deputy Chief Minister Sudhir Mahto (one of two deputy chief ministers of the state), Human Resources and Development (HRD) Minister Bandhu Tirkey and Water Resources Minister Kamlesh Singh air-dashed to New Delhi Sunday evening with the progress report of the state.

The ministers will meet union minister in charge of Jharkhand Ajay Maken (Congress), Union Railway Minister Lalu Yadav, Congress leader Ahmad Patel and NCP President and union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar. They will also try to convince Lalu Yadav to come to the rescue of the government.

A series of meetings took place Sunday in the capital city Ranchi to resolve the crisis. Sources close to Chief Minister Madhu Koda said he was trying to seek help of Railway Minister Lalu Yadav to avert the crisis.

“Lalu Yadav is the only person who can talk to Sonia Gandhi and can ensure survival of the Koda government. Till now, Lalu Yadav did not make his stand clear on the ongoing political crisis,” a source close to Madhu Koda said. A five-member team of ministers has been set up to tide over the threat.

The 60 days’ perform-or-perish ultimatum ends Tuesday.

The Congress has also prepared its own report about the performance of the state government. “State president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu and other leaders will apprise Maken of the report that the party has prepared on the basis of feedback from grassroots leaders in all the 81 assembly constituencies,” Congress spokesperson Alok Dubey said.

Koda enjoys the support of 42 legislators in the 82-member assembly.