The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 29 , 2014
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Cong plays hardball with Hemant

- We won’t rock boat, but survival his problem, says Bhagat

Ranchi, April 28: The state Congress has indicated that despite reservations on the functioning of the Hemant Soren-led government, it would not precipitate a crisis, given that the coalition was surviving on a wafer-thin majority in the Assembly.

State Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat said now that voting in Jharkhand was over, he would like to see the state government, of which the Congress and RJD are a part, pursue the common minimum programme agreed upon by the allies.

“The model code does not prohibit a government from carrying forward schemes that have already been taken up for completion or whose execution was approved before the poll code came into force. Now, the chief minister should ensure that his ministers and officials complete pending work at the earliest,” Bhagat told The Telegraph.

The JMM-Congress-RJD government has 40 MLAs in the Assembly with effective strength of 79 after the resignations of Hemlal Murmu and Bidyut Baran Mahto of the JMM and Chandra Shekhar Dubey of the Congress.

Two former Independent MLAs supporting the government, Chamra Linda and Bandhu Tirkey, have joined Trinamul Congress and now hold the key to the survival of the Hemant Soren-led coalition government.

“The Congress has so far stood by the Hemant Soren government through thick and thin. If the JMM feels that this alliance should continue further, it should fulfil the aspirations of the people. Tomorrow, if the chief minister needs the support of other party MLAs to save his government, he will have to do so on his own. We are not going to be a party to it,” Bhagat clarified.

But the state Congress chief lauded the unity of the coalition partners for honouring a pre-poll seat-sharing deal and ensuring there were no “friendly fights” between allies as was common in a politically divided state like Jharkhand.

“The Congress, RJD and JMM did not have friendly fights during elections which is a unique achievement,” he said.

The Congress, he explained, expected the Hemant government to follow the common minimum programme and complete all pending development and welfare schemes.

On the impasse over the appointment of a new chief secretary _ incumbent R. S. Sharma is understood to have been recalled to the Centre as secretary in the Union communications and IT ministry _ in a scenario when several senior officials were still busy with election work, Bhagat said the Congress did not approve of such dithering.

“We are supporting the Hemant government for positive growth of the state. It is the chief minister’s responsibility to appoint a chief secretary at the earliest, but he should also ensure that an official with clean image is being given the coveted position. We only want positive results,” Bhagat explained.

Yesterday, asked to comment on deteriorating law and order, especially a spurt in Naxalite violence in the recent past, state finance minister and Congress legislature party leader Rajendra Prasad Singh said the onus was on the chief minister.

Singh said since Hemant was in charge of the home portfolio, it was his responsibility to plug loopholes in the security apparatus.

In contrast, the RJD, however, appeared less belligerent. State party president Girinath Singh said the RJD would do anything to keep the BJP and its allies at bay.

“We have not supported this government only to reap harvests during elections. There is no threat to this government from our end and we will always do everything possible to save it,” Girinath said.

There is no immediate threat to the Hemant government, given that Trinamul chief and Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has maintained that it would take a call on the issue of continuing support after the results of the general elections were out.

In all, 13 MLAs contested the Lok Sabha elections. Of them, three have resigned from the Assembly. Among the 10, six MLAs are supporting the Hemant government while four others belong to the Opposition.

The fate of the state government will ultimately depend upon how many of the 10 make it to Parliament.