Young state, cynical politics

Written by JP Yadav | New Delhi | Updated: Dec 1 2009, 04:00am hrs
When the state of Jharkhand came into existence on November 15, 2000, it had been preceded by no visible agitation on the ground for a separate state, even though the demand for a separate tribal homeland was nearly half a century old. Jharkhand was carved out of 18 tribal-dominated districts of Bihar more because of political reasons. The then BJP-led NDA government at the Centre played a crucial role.

Jharkhand has never seen political stabilitythere have been six governments in nine years. The BJP, led by Babulal Marandi, formed the first government in the state but Marandi was never comfortable, surviving on the support of Samata Party MLAs and independents. In less than three years, he had to step down.

Marandis ouster was the beginning of what has now come to be known as the states Madhu Koda factor. Marandinow regarded as the best chief minister the state has had so farhad to go due to pressure from some Samata and Independent legislators whose efforts to plunder the state were apparently obstructed in his regime. In order to hold on to power, the BJP brought in Arjun Munda,whose controversial past dampened any hopes of clean or efficient governance.

Munda held on till the state went to polls in early 2005. The results threw up a fractured mandate with a couple of independents making it to the assembly. Madhu Koda was one of them.

A BJP legislator in the last assembly, Koda won as an independent after his party denied him a ticket. JMM chief Shibu Soren took oath as chief minister in March 2005, but everyone knew his days were numbered. Sorens government collapsed on the floor of the House in just over a week. The independents crafted his fall.

The turn of events saw the Arjun Munda-led BJP government capturing power once again, by winning over independent MLAs.

Recall the case of Ennos Ekka. The first-time MLA was airlifted from his village under tight security and produced by the BJP camp to claim the numbers. Three MLAs, Koda, Ekka and Kamlesh Singh came together as the G-3 and extracted portfolios of their choice in return for their support.

Mundas second stint was not to last long. In just over a year, the G-3 along with another member withdrew support to the Munda government.

Thereafter, the state witnessed a bizarre political turn and an independent MLA became the chief minister. Lalu and Shibu Soren backed Koda and the Congress extended outside support.

Two years later, after JMM chief Shibu Soren was acquitted in a murder case and released from jail, he came back to claim his pound of flesh. The vote of confidence over the Indo-US nuclear deal provided him the opportunity to bargain and UPA leaders compelled Koda to step down and pave the way for Sorens second stint in August 2008.

Luck did not favour Soren for long. His effort to get elected to the state legislature within six months received a jolt as he lost the by-election. He was forced to step down. Presidents rule was imposed in the state on January 19, 2009.