The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Koda takes time off to camp in Delhi
- Frequent-flier Jharkhand CM raises eyebrows

Ranchi, Aug. 18: Chief minister Madhu Koda seems to be dividing his time equally between the state and the national capital, spending almost half of last one month in the national capital.

On Saturday, he again flew off to New Delhi in the wake of a storm gathering over the delimitation of constituencies in the state. But, strangely enough, his aides did not know the CM’s agenda. “Perhaps he has gone on a personal visit this time,” said one of them.

Koda has actually spent 14 days in Delhi during the last one month, prompting snide comments. “Just as Vijender Goel is Jharkhand government’s representative in the national capital, the chief minister does happen to be the UPA nominee and representative here,” quipped a bureaucrat.

The chief minister and the UPA stand to lose face as well as support among tribals in the state, if they fail to stall the recommendation of the Delimitation Commission to reduce number of reserved seats in the Lok Sabha and the Assembly. And Koda is on record as saying that he is waiting for the Prime Minister to bail him out.

More than just the number of days spent by him in New Delhi, it is what he does in Delhi that has raised eyebrows.

He initially rushed to the national capital to congratulate President-elect Pratibha Patil on July 21. But he stayed back for six days in a row, till July 29, attending the President’s installation, a dinner hosted by Congress leader Begum Noor Bano etc. besides calling on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Lalu Prasad.

Again he camped in Delhi for three days between August 5 and 7 to attend a meeting of chief ministers on the draft mineral policy. He returned to the state, but only to rush back to attend the dinner hosted by Sonia Gandhi ahead of the vice-presidential election.

Other UPA allies , like DMK leader Karunanidhi, is not seen visiting New Delhi quite so frequently, point out political circles.

Nor do other chief ministers from neighbouring states like Orissa and Bengal spend so much time in the national capital.

“In these days of advanced technology, we wonder whether chief ministers of even Congress-ruled states rush to New Delhi so often,” snapped a sarcastic Congress leader. Mobile phones and video-conferencing , he added, are clearly inadequate for the consultations the chief minister allegedly holds there.

Former chief minister Arjun Munda was today even more scathing. Technology, he declared, cannot serve the chief minister’s purpose. “Wasooltey hain aur Dilli mein salaami pahunchate hain ,” (He collects money in Jharkhand and flies to New Delhi to make the offering to UPA bosses), Munda added derisively. The chief minister, he alleged, is even bribing legislators to stay in power.

“It is sad that Koda has to depend upon Delhi to give political direction in the state,” said CPM general secretary, J.S. Majumdar while Munda accused the Congress of defrauding the state by allowing ministers here to plunder.

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