The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Independents unite, wield bargain power

Ranchi, July 15: Independent members are once again eager to prove their “bargaining power” in the current power politics.

They have clearly “ordered” the chief minister to either ask the UPA heavyweights to refrain from mudslinging against them or prepare to face the music.

Independents Anosh Ekka, Kamlesh Singh and Harinarayan Rai — all ministers in the government — today met Madhu Koda and told him that they would prefer quitting than suffering more humiliation in the hands of the Congress and RJD. Earlier they held a closed-door meeting to finalise their action plan.

Sources said that on being “tipped off”, Koda, too, visited them in the afternoon and advised them not to take hasty decisions.

“Why only the Independents are being targeted everywhere' Are other ministers and legislators spotless. If we are so sinful, why did they seek our support to form an alternative government' Enough is enough,” said rural development minister Anosh Ekka, before leaving for the chief minister’s residence. Certain legislators have been unnerved by the Speaker’s latest summon under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution for flouting anti-defection law. The Congress has also been struggling hard to give the public impression that new government would be formed in the state soon after the presidential elections, including the vice-president, were over.

It is being propagated that after terminating the assembly membership of over a dozen legislators under the Tenth Schedule, the UPA will automatically gain clear majority in the House and it can smoothly run a new government for at least six months. Thereafter, if the need be, the state will be put under President’s rule.

Speaker Alamgir Alam is being projected as the next chief minister, if Madhu Koda, too, is shown the door. “The process of deciding the fate of 12 legislators under Tenth Schedule of the Constitution are at an advanced stage. Suitable decisions will be taken soon, in accordance with the law. I can’t comment on what Anosh Ekka, Kamlesh Singh and others are doing. Being the Speaker, I will have to remain neutral,” said Alam.

Ekka is also unhappy because Koda of late has started “supporting” his bete noire Niel Tirkey. The inauguration of a panchayat bhavan in Palkot block of Simdega district was deferred under Congress’s pressure. Ekka was due to inaugurate it last Saturday but Koda had to intervene, when Tirkey sat on dharna at the venue and state Congress president Pradeep Balmuchu asked him to do the needful.

“The incompetent legislators are levelling baseless charges against the Independents to skip their responsibilities. We always try our best to oblige them, but there is a limit to everything,” said Ekka, after meeting the chief minister.

Water resources minister Kamlesh Singh said that if there were specific complaints against a minister, it ought to be taken up with the chief minister, who is empowered to take necessary actions.

“No UPA legislator should be allowed to make baseless public statements against a minister,” he added.

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