A deserted Dumka cabinet awaits visitors on Monday. Picture by Rajesh Kumar Pandey
Ranchi, Oct. 10: Chief minister Arjun Munda today postponed the cabinet meeting scheduled at Dumka for tomorrow at the eleventh hour, triggering rumours of discontent among ruling alliance partners, especially BJP and JMM, which have a major stake in Santhal Pargana, but his aides chose to play down the move.
The entire state machinery had geared up for the cabinet meeting in Dumka, considered the state’s second capital. Several cabinet co-ordination department officials had already reached Dumka.
The entire Santhal Pargana commissionerate covering districts of Dumka, Pakur, Sahebganj, Godda, Jamtara and Deoghar also hogs the limelight due to lack of development. As many as 11 agendas and proposals by various departments were finalised for tomorrow’s deliberations.
Much political significance is being attached to the postponement of the cabinet meeting. Speculations are also rife as Munda also called a BJP legislative party meeting at his residence this evening.
However, chief secretary S.K. Choudhary negating any political implication.
“The meeting was deferred due to logistical problems. Ministers have to attend the kutumb bhoj of late Ram Dayal Munda at his native village Deori tomorrow. So, it won’t be possible for them to reach Dumka by 4pm,” he said.
Official sources, however, said the government had not readied a sufficient number of proposals to be cleared at the cabinet meeting owing to long holidays for Durga Puja.
“In fact, most officials resumed office only from today. And, if the government didn’t clear enough development proposals for Santhal Pargana, it might have proved counter-productive for BJP and JMM,” a senior bureaucrat said.
Insiders also said there were differences within the government over giving grants to 519 madarsas. “While HRD minister Baidyanath Ram wants to clear the grant after verification of madarsas, welfare minister Haji Hussain Ansari, backed by the JMM, wants them to be cleared without official formalities,” a source said.
The state government on Monday decided to dedicate Jharkhand’s twelfth year of existence to the girl child. The theme of Statehood Day celebrations on November 15 will be war against malnutrition. Several new schemes will also be launched to empower youth, especially girls.