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Ally Cong piles on to Hemant govt

Ranchi, Nov. 25: Congress is unhappy with the performance of the six-month-old coalition government headed by Hemant Soren, not shying away from criticising its own ministers for not being proactive enough in the run-up to the next year’s elections.

In a two-page report to the party high command, state Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat is understood to have expressed concerns over the government’s failure in almost all the 13 priority areas underlined in the common minimum programme, which was agreed upon at the time of government formation.

The report slammed the Hemant-led team particularly for slow progress in implementation of Food Security Bill and delegation of powers to panchayati raj institutions — the Congress’s two main poll planks.

Speaking to The Telegraph over telephone from Delhi, Bhagat made a measured statement. “It is a plain report on the government’s performance that reflects ground realities … you are free to draw meanings,” he said, after forwarding the report to AICC general secretary Jharkhand in-charge B.K. Hariprasad today.

According to party sources, Bhagat was equally critical in his observations about the performance of Congress ministers, who failed to boost the party’s poll prospects. Except Rajendra Prasad Singh, all Congress ministers — Chandrasekhar Dubey, Geetashree Oraon, Yogendra Sao and Mannan Mallick — were termed “under-performers”.

Interestingly, panchayati raj minister Dubey and animal husbandry minister Mallick have not been happy with their portfolios and they have not minced their words to let their displeasure known.

HRD minister Geetashree recently courted controversy when she demanded a state domicile policy. In another instance, she drew flak from various sections of society when she said candidates who cleared teachers’ eligibility test with Bhojpuri and Magahi as optionals would not be given jobs. The party distanced itself from her statements on both occasions.

Agriculture minister Sao embarrassed the party when he publicly boasted about his contacts with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi that apparently helped him bag a ministerial berth.

Understandably, Bhagat’s report reads, “As ministers, they have not contributed anything to the party.”

According to sources, Bhagat was careful about choosing his words while describing the government and Hemant.

“The ground realities don’t suggest that the government is committed to improving the situation. It hasn’t really moved beyond promises to take drastic steps on the 13 points,” said a senior Congress leader, quoting from the report.

Another worrying observation in the report was that the state government had so far done nothing to win over Muslims. “It will be suicidal. Merely raising slogans against Narendra Modi won’t help. The government must have something to prove its seriousness towards improving socio-economic conditions of the minorities,” said a Congress leader.