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DYNASTY

JHARKHAND ALERT;ďSuggest what I should do. Should I go and fight with Baba?Ē Thatís chief minister Hemant Sorenís candid response on October 6, almost three months after he forged the JMM- Congress-RJD coalition, when his father Shibu Soren called the government ďaverageĒ. Jharkhand entrenched itself into the dynasty mode with Hemant joining the ranks of political star sons Akhilesh Yadav and Omar Abdullah. But Hemantís new government has not only inherited a coalition with heavyweight egos and a very short time to perform before the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls, it also has a full-time critic at home. Daddy dearest Shibu, who bequeathed Hemant a career in politics, doesnít want to write the memoirs of a patriarch in autumn just yet

MUNDA BOWLED: The golfer faced a googly and bowed out. Since last year, BJPís Arjun Munda knew its volatile coalition ally JMM wanted power sharing by rotation, but the soft-spoken diplomat may have placed too much confidence on his negotiating skills. By January this year, it was evident that the JMM was too truculent for any kind of truce. From internal meetings to open threats to withdrawal of support, the JMM juggernaut moved fast, toppling the Munda government on January 8. The Munda cabinet requested governor Syed Ahmed to dissolve the Vidhan Sabha and pave way for fresh Assembly elections. Then, the drama started. The JMM claimed it had the magic number to form an alternative government, but the Congress backed out. Presidentís Rule was formally clamped in January third week for third time in the then 12-year-old state

Shibu-Hemant duo submit papers to Syed Ahmed, withdrawing support from Arjun Munda government on January 8

LOBBY LEADERS: As Presidentís Rule wore on, leading players BJP, Ajsu and JVM said they were not interested to form an alternative government. The Congress was in two minds over supporting JMM. The CBI had been zeroing in on several JMM party MLAs, including Shibuís daughter-in-law Sita Soren, over a cash-stash case related to the 2012 Rajya Sabha election in Jharkhand. Shibuís long-time aide Nalin Soren was implicated in the multi-crore seed procurement scam investigated by State Vigilance Bureau. But Hemant was not to be deterred. He kept on lobbying with Congress and RJD heavyweights in Ranchi, Delhi and Patna and Independents, including those in Birsa Munda Central Jail. Matters moved forward when Union ministers, especially rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, started taking keen interest in Jharkhand. Congress veterans started talking about alleged acts of omission and commission by the Arjun Munda government, which the BJP and Ajsu saw as a silken threat, and decided to not pose any hurdles. The stage was set for a JMM-led government, backed by the Congress and RJD

 

CONDITIONAL COALITION: The Congress set terms — tainted legislators and Independents wouldn’t get berths in the council of ministers, there would be no deputy chief ministers, the government would strictly follow the common minimum programme formulated by Union minister Jairam Ramesh and Congress and JMM would have a 10-4 seat sharing pact. On July 13, Hemant took the oath of office with Rajendra Prasad Singh of Congress and Annapurna Devi of the RJD. Filling up the 12-member cabinet was a tightrope act. Announcements of portfolios led to temper tantrums — animal husbandry minister Mannan Mallik and agriculture minister Yogendra Sao, both Congressmen, spewed venom against Hemant and their own party bosses. Finally, Congress and RJD started reminding the sulking MLAs that winning Lok Sabha seats in the 2014 polls was the main task, not petty squabbling over portfolios

RJD chief Lalu Prasad outside court on September 30, judgment day

PSST! LALU FACTOR: The year has ended with surprises galore. Lalu Prasad, convicted and jailed in a fodder scam case, is out on bail and wants a share in the Cong-JMM seat-sharing pact. Congress, after humiliating Assembly poll defeats in Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, is grappling with twin NaMo and AAP challenges and is in no position to sit on the high horse. The JMM is trying to whip up popular support with loud noises over domicile policy, sand mining and so on. JVM is joining forces with JD(U) to split the tribal-secular vote bank further

Text by SUDHIR KUMAR MISHRA & AMIT GUPTA. PICTURES BY PRASHANT MITRA &
HARDEEP SINGH


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