New Delhi, Oct. 29: Subodh Kant Sahay is out, but Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu could not be in.
The Congress high command’s last-minute decision not to anoint the state party chief as a Union minister in place of the high-profile Ranchi MP, has left several partymen heartbroken.
Senior party leaders in the capital involved in Jharkhand affairs expressed their dismay over the fact that the state, along with Bihar, would not be represented in the Union Cabinet.
But most were quick to clarify that they stood by the decisions taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi.
“We were hopeful that Balmuchu will be inducted in the cabinet and all indications given by senior leaders suggested that. It was seemed natural for at least one of the three state MPs to be in the cabinet. But as it turned out, mostly Lok Sabha MPs were brought in,” said Shakeel Ahmed, party’s spokesperson in-charge of party affairs in the state.
Balmuchu was not available for comment. But a close aide said he was in shock.
“We were almost certain that Balmuchu would join the cabinet after Sahay’s exit as it seemed unlikely the state would be completely ignored,” Ahmed said, adding that the 70-odd supporters who had come to attend the swearing-in ceremony registered their protest with him.
However, all agreed that Balmuchu, who had been lobbying hard, was unlikely to express his displeasure openly.
“With general elections due for 2014, Balmuchu still has a lot of responsibilities as state party chief. He will have to work to strengthen the party,” said the aide.
Others were of the view that Balmuchu as Union minister would lead to factional feuds within the party in Jharkhand.
“Balmuchu and Sahay don’t see eye to eye and the high command has taken the right decision by keeping things even. A ministerial berth at the Centre does not ensure that the party’s poll prospects in the state will get brighter. Both leaders should now focus on the next Lok Sabha elections,” said a senior Congress leader.