The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Allies whet knives

Ranchi, Dec. 17: The heat is on for the Madhu Koda government, more from friends than from foes.

The five-day winter session, which gets under way tomorrow amid intense speculation about a possible realignment of forces, has the lone business of introduction and debate on the supplementary budget.

A division of votes during voting on the supplementary budget will decide the fate of the barely three-month-old Koda regime.

Queering the pitch for the chief minister, both the RJD and Congress, which support the government from outside, have loaded their guns against his administration.

RJD legislature party leader Annapurna Devi said: “We will certainly put the government on the mat in the House for wrong-doing.”

She said the government should be ready to go if it does not mend ways. “Its track record in the last two-and-a-half months shows that it focussed only on transfer-posting and totally ignored its duty towards the public.”

The legislator alleged ministries such as rural development and forest were functioning like autonomous bodies.

“For example, roads being constructed by the rural development department in Koderma (her constituency) have been held up by the forest department. They don’t appear to be part of the government and the chief minister has no command over their activities,” she said.

While stopping short of recommending President’s rule at this juncture, Congress legislators have already expressed disenchantment with Koda in their meetings with Sonia Gandhi.

Congress MLA Niel Tirkey said his party would expose the shortcomings of the government. But he offered a window of hope for the beleaguered chief minister and ruled out pulling the rug now.

Former chief minister Arjun Munda, said to be working out a formula to topple the government, was guarded. “I choose to neither confirm nor deny the move,” he said.

JD (U) legislator Radha Krishna Kishore said the NDA would speak out against the government’s refusal to order a CBI probe into the death of BIT student Abhishek Mishra.

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