The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rebel Five guns for Marandi’s scalp

Ranchi, Feb. 20: Five dissident ministers in the Babulal Marandi government today accused the chief minister of being “corrupt, non-performing and autocratic” and asked him to step down before the budget session commences on February 27.

The rebels — all non-BJP ministers — are energy minister Lalchand Mahto (Janata Dal-United), revenue minister Madhu Singh, urban development minister Baccha Singh, excise minister Ramesh Singh Munda and PHED minister Jaleshwar Mahto (all Samata Party).

After a meeting at the residence of the energy minister this evening, the rebels said there was no scope for a compromise with a chief minister who was working “against the interest of the masses and the state”. “Marandi’s style of functioning was maligning the image of the NDA coalition,” they said.

In a swift reaction, the state unit of the BJP said the chief minister had been elected by the legislature party, duly endorsed by the NDA ministers, and so the ministers were wrong in demanding Marandi’s resignation. “Five ministers do not constitute the NDA coalition. They have no right to demand the chief minister’s resignation. If they are dissatisfied, they should resign,” a senior BJP leader said.

But refusing to tender their resignation, the ministers said they had taken the step to expose Marandi’s “wrongdoings” and to make the people aware that they were not part of the “conspiracy” under which the state was being run.

The ministers said they would further expose the chief minister at a later stage. They said Marandi, who claims to be spending sleepless nights due to corruption in the state, should immediately resign.

The rebels claimed that their ranks would “very soon” swell from the present five. “We have not approached anyone so far. If anybody wants to come, he is welcome,” they said.

The ministers, who circulated a copy of the report sent to the party bosses, said they would chalk out their strategy later. They claimed that the NDA leaders were informed of the developments.

The rebel ministers said they had requested Marandi to implement the rules of executive business and to vest the power of transfer of IAS and IPS officers in the Cabinet. “Instead of seriously contemplating our request made in public and state interest, the chief minister took it very lightly. Marandi said he neither had time nor energy for such issues,” the ministers said.

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