New Delhi, July 27: Madhu Koda expected to ask questions on delimitation when he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today. It was the PM instead who let loose a volley of uncomfortable questions, which left the Jharkhand chief minister fumbling.
Koda, who has been camping in New Delhi for the past three days, had led a delegation to express concern over the Delimitation Commission’s proposal to reduce the number of seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes in the state. A report by the Law secretary is expected by August 20, he was told.But a stern Prime Minister, confided members of the delegation, had other things on his mind. “Why is NREGA not picking up in Jharkhand,” he asked and followed it with another, “What is the law and order situation there”.
Other questions followed like staccato gunfire, providing ample indication that all’s not well with the Koda government in the state.
While Koda was taken aback by the avalanche of uncomfortable questions—and the PM according to insiders was in no mood to listen to his explanations-the chief minister kept up a brave face. “There is no threat to my government and the differences have been sorted out,” he asserted at the end of the day.
After meeting the PM, he rushed to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi who is said to have given him a patient hearing. But sources in the Congress maintained that the party is deeply unhappy at the situation in the state and that Koda has been told to “ improve or leave”.
“Expect some major change in Jharkhand in August, if he (Koda) fails to deliver by then,” a senior Congress leader told The Telegraph. The party believes there is no functioning government in the state. Ministers are at loggerheads and Koda is unable to control them. His style has come under criticism and he has not been able to arrive at a common minimum programme either, even 10 months after he assumed office.
The party, said sources in the Congress, is worried. “Jharkhand may turn out to be another UP or Bihar for the Congress if the situation does not improve before the next parliamentary elections in 2009,” a Congress leader added. During his soujourn in the capital, Koda met RJD leader Lalu Prasad Yadav thrice. He also met Sonia Gandhi twice in his desperate bid to save his government.
Besides holding several rounds of meeting with Congress leader in charge of Jharkhand, Noor Bano.
The hectic lobbying by him does not appear to have secured for him a fresh lease though.