| Shibu Soren talks to reporters in Ranchi. Picture by Manik Bose
Ranchi, Sept. 15: Shibu Soren, reportedly eyeing the chief minister’s chair, today shot off a letter to Madhu Koda reminding him to implement Jharkhand Vision 2010 to overcome Koda’s “failure” in developing the state as desired.
Incidentally, the letter came from the state UPA convener at a time when the UPA government in the state is geared up to celebrate Koda’s one year in power on September 18.
However, Soren told reporters while giving away copies of the six-page letter that the coveted post, which he once held for a few days in 2005, was not on his mind.
“My first priority is to serve people of my state,” said the president of JMM, which has three ministers on state cabinet.
But Soren’s letter, almost echoing charges levelled by the NDA against the Koda government, took political observers by surprise. There could be two reasons, they felt.
First, he is eyeing the chair of the chief minister by discrediting Koda, as he is not hopeful to get back his cabinet berth at the Centre. Even if he gets that, the Prime Minister’s Office has taken over some key jobs like coal block allotment of the coal ministry.
Second, he also wants to distance himself from the present government speculating the early Lok Sabha and Assembly elections, they pointed out.
Soren, in his letter, a copy of which he later gave to Governor Syed Sibtey Razi at a 40-minute meeting, said that the “commission culture” had plagued the government machinery, as corruption is the “most acute problem, which has held back all the development schemes”. An “honest implementation” of the Jharkhand Vision 2010, a document adopted by the government when formed last year, could become a solution to the present problems, he added.
Soren also demanded the state government to amend the constable recruitment rules, paving ways for persons who passed Class VII and of short height to take the test. He also demanded that the Grade III and IV jobs should be filled with students of the state.
Talking about the issues dealt in the letter, Soren said:
“The letter has asked the chief minister to rectify the mistakes that have been committed by the government so that the people can witness development.” The government has neither taken any step to reopen the sick industries nor has it announced the rehabilitation policy, he said.
“The Vision 2010 said that the government would increase the irrigation area from present 9 per cent to 25 per cent. But, no step has been taken yet to move towards the goal,” Soren reminded.
The Vision 2010 also stated that the depleted forest cover would be enhanced up to 33 per cent “but no step is being taken towards it,” Soren said.
Soren has come heavily on corruption prevalent in the bureaucracy and the government.
“In the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Project, the electricity board officials ask a bribe share of 20 per cent, which the implementing agencies are not willing to pay. This is the reason for which the project is proving a failure,” Soren pointed out.