Munda completes one year amid political turbulence

Two key opponents - the BJP and JMM - joined hands in September last year to provide an elected government in the state.

Ranchi: Arjun Munda completed one year in office as Jharkhand Chief Minister on Sunday, overcoming political turbulence and bickering among the alliance partners.

Two key opponents - the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) - joined hands in September last year to provide an elected government in the state. In the last six years, Jharkhand has witnessed five governments and and President`s rule two times.

When Arjun Munda took oath as chief minister on Sep 11, 2011, there was a feeling that the government would fall in a few months. There was stiff resistance within the JMM to support a BJP-led government. Even the BJP was divided over forming government.

The completion of one year has cleared the confusion among the political class that a coalition government could initiate pro-people work. Political experts say that the Munda government can neither be called pro or anti -poor, but some of the steps initiated by the government if implemented in spirit would help people of the state.

The Jharkhand assembly in August passed the right to service act, for greater accountability. Under the act officials will have to work in a stipulated period of time. The state government opened 100 food centres on Independence Day, where lunch would be provided at Rs 5 to Below Poverty Level people. Every day 40,000 people take meal at Rs 5 from 100 food centres.

More than half of Jharkhand`s three crore population live Below Poverty Line (BPL).

The state government has also succeeded in holding panchayat polls after 32 years. Jharkhand claims that nearly 55 percent elected representatives of the panchayat bodies are women. The government has also accorded second language status to 12 languages including Urdu, Bangla, Oriya and nine tribal languages.

Since taking oath, Munda started making efforts at image building of the mineral rich state that was known as scam tainted, including the Rs.2,500 crore money laundering scam involving former chief minister Madhu Koda. Four former ministers - Enos Ekka, Hari Narayan Rai, Kamlesh Singh and Bhnau Pratap Sahi are in jail in graft cases.

Munda claims to have given approval for prosecution of more than 300 officers and dismissing more than 100 officials, including more than 60 engineers, in graft cases.

However, the state government also failed to meet the expectations of the people.

Thousands of people were removed during the demolition drive without formulating a rehabilitation policy. The Munda government says the demolition drive was executed on directives of the high court and they have started work to rehabilitate displaced people by constructing 850 flats in Ranchi.

For farmers, the state government announced to provide farming loan at the rate of three percent, which could not be started. Law and order remains a major issue. The state government failed to take up the five rail pending projects with the railway ministry effectively. The Munda government also failed to improve the power scenario in the state.

"In the last one year the state government has tried to streamline the development work. In the coming years people of the state will get benefits of the schemes mooted by the Munda government," Pradeep Sinha, Jharkhand BJP spokesperson, told a news agency.

Countering the BJP claim, Congress state president Pradeep Balmuchu said: "There is a report by Transparency International which has termed Jharkhand as the most corrupt state of the country. The roads are in bad shape and the power situation is horrifying."


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