Ranchi, June 18: Former Union minister Jairam Ramesh is understood to have sought a fortnight’s time from Pradesh Congress to consult with the central leadership and take a final decision on whether to part ways with the Hemant Soren-led coalition government.
Ramesh, also chairman of state government co-ordination committee, who convened the party’s crucial Chintan Shivir in Ranchi yesterday, humbly accepted the criticism lobbed in his direction by party workers regarding the Lok Sabha rout but was outspoken about the performance of the Hemant government.
“We should pull out from the government if it doesn’t show improvement. I doubt that in coming four months, when Assembly elections are scheduled, this government will break any fresh ground,” a top party leader quoted Ramesh as saying.
State party in-charge and national general secretary B.K. Hariprasad, who stressed on a thorough political assessment before any drastic decision, ultimately appeared to endorse Ramesh’s logic.
State party president Sukhdeo Bhagat, supported by senior party leader Ashok Choudhary, is understood to have said it would be a fallacy to believe in miracles in four months, all the more so as the model code of conduct would be imposed soon.
But Congress workers in Jharkhand, smarting from the unprecedented scale of defeat in this Lok Sabha election where the party could not even open its account, are wary of rocking the boat.
Congress ministers in Hemant’s cabinet reportedly listed “achievements” of their respective departments and said they had “out-of-the-box ideas” that would help project the government well.
A top source in the party said that Ramesh, before leaving for Delhi yesterday evening, categorically told state Congress leaders and workers that he would consult the central leadership for a final call in the matter.
“We have received written opinions of leaders who were invited in the meeting. The opinions on continuing the alliance are deeply divided. Yes, it is true that this government received less appreciation on performance count,” Bhagat told The Telegraph.
A party senior summed up the dilemma.
“This coalition government has been criticised for non-performance and if the Congress continues with it, it may not reap electoral benefits in the Assembly polls as well. But at the same time, the Congress is not robust enough to fight alone, and many are worried that if we pull out now, the JMM might not forgive this in the long-term,” he said.
“In any case, indecision won’t help,” he added.
The state Congress today suspended seven party workers for showing black flags to former Union minister Jairam Ramesh and creating a ruckus during yesterday’s Chintan Shivir. State party spokesperson Rajesh Thakur said the seven are Vindeshwar Singh Yadav, Praveen Kumar Dubey, Tinku Verma, Ashutosh Nath Pathak, Raju Ram, Ajay Jain and Babloo Shukla — all from the party’s Ranchi unit.
Dubey, who allegedly made a failed attempt to throw an egg on Ramesh, lodged a police complaint against general secretaries Rajesh Gupta and Samsher Alam for beating him.