Cong names ‘clean’ trio

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  • Published 24.08.13

New Delhi/Ranchi, Aug. 23: Three new faces are to join the Hemant Soren government tomorrow after the Congress high command finalised their names, ending weeks of uncertainty.

Mannan Mallik, Chandrashekhar “Dadai” Dubey and Yogendra Sao — a last minute inclusion — were cleared for ministerial positions by senior party leaders in Delhi today.

“We have decided to induct the three in the Hemant Soren government,” said Congress general secretary in charge of Jharkhand B.K. Hariprasad, adding that they had also chosen those who would be in the committee to implement the state government’s common minimum programme.

The committee, headed by Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, will include state PCC chief Sukhdeo Bhagat, Rajendra Prasad Singh, Manoj Yadav, Devendra Champia, besides leaders from JMM (two) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (one).

According to Bhagat, the MLAs, Mallik (Dhanbad), Dubey (Vishrampur) and Sao (Barkagaon), would take oath tomorrow at Raj Bhavan at 4.30pm. “Raj Bhavan will be informed by tonight,” he said.

The Congress, which had vowed to have leaders with a “clean” image as members of the cabinet, has been holding back names as it found it difficult to balance caste and community equations.

But today’s announcement left many in the Congress baffled. While Sao is an accused in the 2010 Rajya Sabha cash-for-vote scam being probed by CBI, Mallik is an accused in the Matkuriya (Dhanbad) police firing case of 2011.

“Including Sao in the ministry is a horrendous political decision,” said a senior Congressman of the state.

“First, you take so much of time to decide the names of ministers saying you don’t want tainted faces. Ab aap jale par namak daal rahe hain…dukhad dukhad (Now you are rubbing salt into our wounds… it’s sad),” he added.

But, Sao wasn’t perturbed at the criticism.

“If Soniaji and Rahulji opted for me, there must be some merit behind their decision. I don’t know why my critics are sulking,” he said without naming Banna Gupta, the Jamshedpur (West) MLA, who was also a strong contender.