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Cong ‘notice’ to Hemant

- Party leaders to meet CM today on governance

Ranchi, June 23: A perception seems to be gaining ground among central Congress leaders that pulling out of the alliance with the JMM is a risk worth taking provided the state unit is able to get its act together well in time for the Assembly elections scheduled in November.

Top sources in the Congress revealed that the party’s central leadership today instructed general secretary in charge of Jharkhand B.K. Hariprasad and state party chief Sukhdeo Bhagat to speak to chief minister Hemant Soren “firmly” and find out whether he has any intention of fulfilling promises in the common minimum programme (CMP) agreed upon by the alliance partners in July last year after the Congress-JMM-RJD government was formed.

Sources claimed a meeting with Hemant has been scheduled for tomorrow. Apart from Hariprasad and Bhagat, the five Congress ministers, Rajendra Prasad Singh, Geetashre Oraon, Yogendra Sao, K.N. Tripathy and Mannan Mallick, are also likely to be present.

None from the Congress would clarify whether the central leadership’s combative mood was a ploy to opt out of the coalition or was another one of its “perform or perish” notices to Hemant.

“It is a warning, I think. But, we should not be taken lightly,” said a senior state Congress leader who was among a dozen of leaders invited to Delhi for yesterday’s meeting with A.K. Antony and others.

“The state government has not earned itself good scores to impress the central leadership. It did not take the CMP agenda seriously. The chief minister needs to explain the problems he is facing,” the leader added.

Hariprasad is scheduled to reach Ranchi this evening and hold a meeting with leaders and office-bearers of Youth Congress, State Women’s Congress, NSUI and the Sewa Dal at BNR Chanakya BNR tomorrow.

The Congress general secretary will leave for Delhi on Wednesday.

The central leadership has already received feedback about the party and the government from a recently held Chintan Shivir in Ranchi attended by former Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh and Hariprasad.

Yesterday, when Antony sought to know from Congress ministers about the delay in implementing central programmes they are understood to have shifted the blame on Hemant, saying most of the proposals were stuck at the chief minister’s office.