The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Knife out for Koda, warn allies
- Disqualification sword hangs over 13 MLAs

Ranchi, July 16: Actors who claim they are waiting for the right script, often mean they are out of work. Similarly, when chief minister Madhu Koda says, “the chief minister’s chair is not important”, does he actually mean he is on his way out'

Despite public statement of the railway minister that Koda has the “whip” to rule over Jharkhand, political circles are agog over his impending exit.

Speculation has been further fuelled by his “sudden” schedule to visit New Delhi tomorrow to “consult UPA leaders on the presidential poll”.

Koda himself has provided fodder to fuel the speculation, when he told a television channel that the chief minister’s chair does not hold much appeal to him. “It is a temporary chair but I will continue to work for the state’s welfare,” he added.

His New Delhi visit is said to be linked to speculation that as many as 13 MLAs are on the verge of being disqualified for various reasons. With eight of them from the BJP and the remaining being independent members supporting the Koda government, both BJP and Koda stand to lose if Speaker Alamgir Alam, a Congress MLA, disqualifies the members next month.

The disqualification would alter the balance in the Jharkhand Assembly and allow the UPA to run a more stable and cohesive government without having to depend on independent legislators.

The possibility of such a scenario unfolding itself next month is what is said to have driven independent ministers to the chief minister’s residence last night.

The independent ministers, sources said, wanted Koda to confront UPA leaders in New Delhi and secure a categorical assurance. Failing which, the independent ministers would be ready to do another somersault and engineer the exit of the UPA government even before the Assembly begins the monsoon session on August 17.

Sources close to the Congress maintain that disqualification petitions against the five BJP MLAs have been pending for more than five months whereas three more BJP MLAs, trapped in a sting operation, have also been found guilty.

In the case of three independent legislators, namely Anosh Ekka, Kamlesh Singh and Stephen Marandi—all that Alam has to do is to just look at the evidence afresh since the procedures had been largely completed during Inder Singh Namdhari tenure.

The unstable government today received another blow when the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha publicly lashed out at Koda, holding him responsible for poor governance and poor communication between allies.

“As chief minister, he has to shoulder the responsibility for the government’s non-performance,” declared JMM MP Hemlal Murmu, briefing the media after a central committee meeting. Murmu blamed Koda for the transfer of two honest officers, the DCs of Pakur and Godda. Politicians might demand transfer of officials, he said, but it is for the CM to take judicious decisions.

“Besides transfer and postings,” Murmu alleged, “this government has done nothing.” He claimed to have spoken to the CM this morning and lectured him to mend his ways.

Conceding that the future of the government is uncertain, Murmu declared that JMM is ready for all eventualities.

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