To understand why Jharkhandis do not figure in present day Congress led UPA Union Government; we need to look into the fate of Congress Party in Jharkhand state?
On 14th November 2000, Jharkhand was formally carved out Bihar state and the new state was founded with Jharkhand’s own elected representatives forming the Jharkhand State Government.
Since then, BJP has reaped the benefits of being the first mover’s advantage; as the creation of Jharkhand was done by the NDA Government led by BJP’s leader and the Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. On top, in Jharkhand too NDA formed the State Government led by Chief Minister Babu Lal Marandi and later by Chief Minister Arjun Munda.
On the other hand, Congress party has yet to lead or form the Government in Jharkhand state.
Is Congress playing catch up game since 2000 in Jharkhand?
It seems Congress has lost its way in North Indian State, including Jharkhand; with its excessive centralization policy, even in the internal party matters. With its Delhi-centric approach, it is quite possible that even in the years to come, the downward slide of Congress party in state would continue. Unless, there are some apparent change in its policy, for instance decentralization, or should we say finding and grooming of an honest and capable regional leader from its rank, the party would continue to sink deeper in the quick sand of Jharkhand’s politics.
In Jharkhand, to recover its lost ground Congress tried to play back-room politics by propping up an independent candidate Madhu Koda as a Chief Minister, but the corrupt ways of its so-called regional and national leaders (who it seems knowingly) blindly backed one of the most fraudulent government in state’s history.
No doubt, Koda and his ministerial colleagues are still in jail; while Congress after it lost its face in that experimentation, it still stumbles in dark, not really knowing where it is headed.
Maybe we could blame the cut-throat infighting in Jharkhand State Congress Party Organization?
If one has to look closely into the Jharkhand Congress Party, then one would notice the absence of any pan-Jharkhand leader in its fold. Instead, Congress has far too many District level leaders; whose areas of (limited) influence is confined within the boundary of their Vidhan Sabha and/or Lok Sabha constituency, that too only on their dedicated party workers.
It is often been said in the political circle that during election time; its fiercely competitive leaders leave no stone unturned to ensure the defeat of another congress leaders.
The net result of infighting is that Congress has only one elected M.P. in LS (Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha) and two M.Ps.in RS (Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha).
The Congress continues to play the catch up game and future does not look bright.
Maybe with only 1 seat out of 14 Lok Sabha seats, Jharkhand does not figure in Congress’ scheme of things?
When Rahul Gandhi recently visited Jharkhand, in one of his whirl-wind trip; he held long-meetings with the grass-root workers (karyakarta) of Congress, their negative feedback on party organization or lack of it must have accelerated the decision-making process in the top echelon of the congress leadership. The writing was clear on the wall; so it seems that Congress’ Central Leadership was telling the Congress party organization to quell the in-fighting, revamp and strengthen the state party organization, before the General Elections in 2014. The message is to get its house in order, once Jharkhand Congress wins more Lok Sabha seats in next general elections, only then its Jharkhandi leaders are likely to get a berth in Union Government; if at all congress is in position to stake claim to form a government in 2014.
But this could be mere wishful thinking on part of congress, as it is yet to play a role of creditable opposition party in Jharkhand, besides it is often said that old Congressi’s habits die-hard.
9 years as a Union Minister, maybe Subodh Kant Sahay has little to show as achievement in Jharkhand?
After resigning from ministry, Subodh Kant Sahay loudly proclaimed that he has served as minister for 9 long years, it is time for him to give opportunity to others and he would like to work for strengthening the state organization in Jharkhand. The common Jharkhandi citizen would really like to to judge his performance as minister, and would love to know what Sahay has done for Jharkhand in those 9 long years.
Maybe his poor performance coupled with allegations of corruptions in the infamous Coal-gate Scam, has forced the central leadership to relive him of his duties.
Maybe, Congress would again fish for regional allies in Jharkhand in 2014?
For Congress Central Leadership, Jharkhand remains a distant and mysterious land, which they have failed to decipher in last 12 years. Ironically, it was not always so, in the not so distant past, when Jharkhand was part of unified Bihar, the Congress held its dominant position in regions comprising of present day Jharkhand state.
But they have squandered all their good will in last couple of decades.
With time running out rapidly, the revival of Congress Party Organization in Jharkhand looks bleak.
Now it seems that the Delhi-based Congress leaders realize that their local leaders may not be able to win too many seats in 2014 in Jharkhand, and some of them even foresee worse election drubbing for them in last decade or so.
The thinking behind the recent ministerial-reshuffle, it seems is that the Congress Leadership wants to maximize it gains and minimize its losses; it could be seen the lop-sided representation in Government. So it seems in the grand scheme of things, with its secular-plank somewhat intact, Congress’ central leadership still hopes to look for both pre and / or post poll alliance with the regional parties in Jharkhand.
But it could only do so by wiping the slate clean and making new friends and enemies in Jharkhand, so exit of Subodh Kant Sahay is first step in that direction.
Although, only time will tell whether, the step was right or wrong for Congress?
The loser in the entire process is Jharkhand and its people, with ZERO representation in Indian Government. But on the other hand, even the last Jharkhandi representative did so little for the state and its people; not many common people would miss that.
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