The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gujarat poll shield for CM

Ranchi, Nov. 10: The pressure tactics of Congress to tame chief minister Madhu Koda is likely to continue but there is apparently no imminent threat to the present government. Not till the Gujarat Assembly polls at least.

Virtually giving a breather to Koda till December, the Congress today said it would take a “drastic action” after the Gujarat Assembly elections.

“We are keeping our options open. We can either go for the change of leadership or for the withdrawal of support, leading to the President’s rule in Jharkhand,” Congress’s state unit president Pradeep Balmuchu said. “We do not want to commit the political hara-kiri by keeping mute on Koda’s inaction,” Balmuchu said.

“Union Minister of state for urban development and Jharkhand in-charge of the party affairs Ajay Makan will unveil the party’s plan of action in the next couple of days,” he said.

Reacting to RJD legislator Girinath Singh’s appeal to Congress to own up the responsibility for the failures of the government and suggest measures to put things in place, Balmuchu said: “RJD should remain within its limit. We don’t need their moral preaching.”

Balmuchu reiterated that Koda was solely responsible for the “theatre of absurd” in Jharkhand: “We cannot blame Soren or RJD’s Lalu Prasad for that because Koda is taking all the decisions.”

He also said that Soren was not the leader of the UPA. “He was appointed the chairman of the UPA steering committee, which, incidentally, was never constituted. So, he has no locus standi in running the government,” he said.

According to the Congress sources in Delhi, the party do not want to run the government any longer. “But it is in a dilemma on whether to join and lead the alternative government or put the state under a spell of the President’s rule,” a source said.

Meanwhile, perturbed with the impending threat from the Congress, Koda rushed to the Raj Bhavan yesterday to extend Diwali greetings to the governor, and held one-and-a-half-hour close-door meeting.

Koda also held a meeting with Soren today on the present political situation.

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