Friday, 14 June 2013

Desperate Congress Goes To JMM

Rattled by the prospect of losing power at the Centre, the Congress is negotiating terms with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in Jharkhand to get a couple of seats in the next Lok Sabha. There is saying in Hindi “Marta Kya Na Karta” that roughly means a man who sees his end can do anything to survive. The Congress Party appears to be in the same situation. The word ‘probity’ in public life does not exist in Congress’ dictionary, so it seems. Else, it would not have gone to Shibu Soren and his son Hemant Soren with the offer of propping up the junior Soren as the chief minister of the troubled state.

Jharkhand has been pushed to the brink courtesy the Congress Party. It supported the one member independent Madhu Koda as the chief minister of the state. Now Koda is in jail facing a string of criminal cases for looting the treasury that runs into 4000 crores of rupees. By the Centre’s own estimate it is the worst administered state in the country.

Jharkhand is currently under the President’s rule. Things have gone from bad to worse under the Central rule. There is total chaos in the state.

In 2009 elections, the Congress was able to win the lone seat of Ranchi out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state. Things have reached such a passé that it will be difficult for the sitting member Subodh Kant Sahai , a former Union Minister to retain his seat. The Congress is willing to pay any price for striking a deal with the JMM to enter into a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha elections.

The six month spell of the President’s rule ends in the fourth week of July next. The Government has the option to dissolve the assembly and call fresh elections. Alternatively, it can extend the spell of the President’s rule by another six months by getting it endorsed by Parliament and go for elections simultaneously for the state assembly and Lok Sabha. But the political managers see a worsening of the situation under the President’s Rule that can only ensure a total route of the Party in the state.

The BJP has won maximum Lok Sabha seats in 2009 – 7 out of 14 followed by JMM -2, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha of Babulal Marandi-2, Independents-2 and Congress -1.
It will be either Shibu Soren or his son Hemant Soren who will be the chief minister with the support of the Congress Party. Chances are that Hemant Soren will take over the reins in Ranchi since his father has been sidelined by his own son.

In the House of 81, at least 42 Members are required for a bare majority to stake claim to form the government. The JMM has 18 seats while the Congress has 13 MLAs. Together it adds up to 41. With three independents the yet to be formed coalition would have the strength of 44 Members that is sufficient to run the government.

But question is will the people of the state who are already disgusted with the state of affairs reward the Congress for installing a government with a track record of misrule and corruption. The Congress which eyes the JMM share of votes to win a couple of seats in the state may end up paying a heavy price for its politics of opportunism in the next elections not only in Jharkhand but also in other states. But who cares when ‘operators’ are at work to install a government of convenience that would allow them to make quick money at the expense of the people of the state.

~R. K. Sinha

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