Millennium Post

Jharkhand loses as leaders fight

The present political chaos in Jharkhand cannot be good news for those who had agitated and struggled to create an independent identity for the state. Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in November 2000. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) under Shibu Soren led the tribals’ struggle to be free of Bihar, which they felt was using the rich mineral reserves of Jharkhand for its development, but doing little to advance the interests of the tribal population.
But ever since the state has been haunted by political chaos, corruption and insurgency trouble. In 2000, Babulal Marandi of BJP was sworn in as the chief minister of Jharkjand. BJP candidates retained their control over the post of chief minister till 2005, when Shibu Soren of JMM became the chief minister. Since then BJP and JMM candidates have more or less alternated as chief ministers of the state. But coalition between the parties have always been fragile in the state, with Presidents Rule being introduced thrice in its twelve year history. With JMM withdrawing support to the current coalition, and CM Arjun Munda quitting, the state is staring at another President’s Rule. Indeed the state governor has already recommended the same.

The dream of development that the tribals in Jharkhand had while agitating for a separate state is definitely shattered. Political instability has failed to ensure economic growth in the state. JMM leader Shibu Soren, though he enjoys a fan following in the state, has failed to give it stability. Indeed, his name has cropped up in a number of scams. On 28 November 2006, Soren was found guilty in a twelve-year-old case involving the kidnapping and murder of his former personal secretary Shashinath Jha, though he was later acquitted. His name has cropped up in other cases. Other state chief ministers such as Madhu Koda has also been accused of corruption. The authorities have not managed to solve the insurgency trouble in the state either, with the result that much of the resources for which the people had fought for, remains untapped. For the poor people of the state, their own leaders and insurgents have replaced the Bihar leadership, which they had felt was cheating them of their due. Central control over the state can ensure day to day administration, but it cannot bring development. For that strong local leadership is needed. The common people of Jharkhand, who had once agitated against being governed by Bihar, now need to find a leader among themselves who can bring about real change in the state.
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