Chief minister Hemant Soren at the review meeting at his official residence in Ranchi on Friday. Telegraph picture
Ranchi, June 6: Weeks after the Lok Sabha electoral debacle, rumblings in Congress and RJD ally camps have grown loud enough to worry chief minister and JMM scion Hemant Soren and his 11-month-old government.
The BJP’s thumping victory in Jharkhand has bared deep rifts in the JMM-Congress-RJD Vidhan Sabha coalition whose very birth last July had rested upon a misplaced conviction of Lok Sabha electoral gains.
Apparently wiser in hindsight, Sukhdeo Bhagat, state unit president of the Congress, which could not win a single seat in the state, said his party “gained nothing by joining hands with the JMM”.
Hinting it was time for the Congress to “go solo” in the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections and “carefully consider” if it should continue to support the Hemant Soren government, Bhagat said: “The Congress could have sent better signals to the masses in Jharkhand if it contested Lok Sabha elections alone.”
Scathing about chief minister Hemant’s spate of review meetings, he said: “Everyone knows all kinds of groundwork comes to a grinding halt when monsoon sets in. The model code of conduct for Vidhan Sabha polls is set to come in force towards monsoon-end. So what is the chief minister trying to prove through his new directions to senior officials during review meetings?”
Clarifying that the chief minister was free to hold as many meetings as he wanted, Bhagat said the government should first ensure needy people got benefits of various welfare and development schemes in real sense of the term, especially those initiated by the erstwhile Congress-led government at the Centre.
Contacted, Congress representatives in Hemant’s cabinet Rajendra Prasad Singh, K.N. Tripathy, Mannan Mallik and Yogendra Sao maintained they would step down the moment their party high command ordered them to do so.
Grievances are likely to be aired once common minimum programme implementation committee chief Jairam Ramesh, also a former Union minister, reaches Jharkhand on June 16 to take stock of the scenario. Scheduled to stay for two days, Ramesh will talk to a cross-section of party members.
State’s water resources minister and RJD leader Annapurna Devi admitted there was large-scale resentment.
“Wherever I go, people tell me this government is doing nothing to safeguard their interests. But, our party’s main aim is to check the rise of the BJP. Our party president (Lalu Prasad) will decide our future equations with the JMM, Congress and other secular forces. Till then, we will continue working whole-heartedly for this government,” she said.