The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Soren panel for tabs on Koda

Ranchi, Sept. 16: Amid heightened lobbying for cabinet berths ahead of Monday’s swearing-in, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) today nominated Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren as chairman of the steering and coordination committees that will monitor the functioning of the Madhu Koda government.

The arrangement is similar to the one at the Centre, where Sonia Gandhi is at the helm of the watchdog panels.

The UPA also decided to constitute a drafting committee to formulate a common minimum programme (CMP) for the Koda government.

These decisions were taken at a meeting of the UPA steering committee here. Soren, Union minister and Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay and senior Congress leader Mabel Rebello were among those present. All legislators willing to form a UPA government in the state under Koda’s leadership too took part.

Koda will have to do a deft balancing act given that there are bound to be rumblings over allocation of cabinet berths. With Stephen Marandi giving a letter of support, a slot has to be found for him. Even Forward Bloc MLA Aparna Sengupta indicated today she was not averse to joining the ministry.

The steering committee will comprise MPs and representatives of different political parties playing crucial roles in running the government. The coordination committee will include even those like-minded parties having no representation in the Assembly. These committees will hold regular meetings, at least once every fortnight.

“Nine political parties have so far agreed to support our government. While the steering committee will regulate the functioning of the Koda government, the coordination committee will facilitate understanding among the ruling partners,” said Soren.

The CMP, he said, would be worked out within 10 days and it would focus on issues of mass interest, primary among them corruption.

Sahay “confirmed” that all UPA partners had pledged full-term support to Koda and he would be allowed to function with full authority.

“He will be free to choose his principal secretary or appoint officers of his choice in different positions. He only needs to abide by the common minimum programme and hold regular meetings to avoid confusion among ruling partners. We will always be around to help him,” said Sahay.

Koda said the ministers would be administered oath in phases. On Monday, he would be sworn in along with some of his colleagues. The vote of confidence is expected to take place on September 20.

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