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Cong counters graft charges

Ranchi, Nov. 19: At a time when the BJP is targeting the Congress over the Madhu Koda episode, Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad today alleged that the political culture of corruption in Jharkhand began under the former’s regime.

Ahmad, the Congress national spokesman, also said that Koda started indulging in corrupt practices when he was a minister in the Arjun Munda government.

“It was during Arjun Munda’s tenure as the chief minister when several ministers, especially Independents including Koda, had accused each other of indulging in corrupt practices. Thus, it is the BJP that is responsible for corruption taking root in Jharkhand,” said Ahmad at a news meet in the state capital today. The Congress leader is in the state to campaign for party candidates.

Ahmad further said the people of Jharkhand gave the BJP a chance to rule in the state for seven long years and now, they wanted to give an opportunity to the Congress-JVM alliance.

“We have gauged the mood of the voters. They are not willing to give another chance to the BJP. They want us at the helm of affairs this time,” Ahmad said, claiming that the Congress-JVM combine would fare well in the elections.

He reiterated that the Congress believed in “inclusive” politics, a reason why even minorities reposed their faith in the party. “All religious and linguistic minorities are with us in this election,” Ahmad claimed.

He, however, avoided a direct reply when asked why price rise was not a poll issue for the Congress. Stating that it was the concern of the respective states, he said: “In such a situation, the Centre is blamed. But it is the responsibility of the state governments to control price rise.”

The leader, however, agreed that increase in prices of essential commodities had affected almost all sections of the society across the country. “Cost of seeds and labour increased in the past couple of years, as a result of which prices of agro-based consumer products also shot up,” Ahmad added.

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