When a Jharkhand politician claims his party will do anything to ensure the return of democracy,it is not merely a platitude. After all,it was here that an Independent,Madhu Koda,became chief minister with Congress support.
Hence,one of the many exciting and yes,farcical possibilities being bandied about is the coming together of the JD(U) and RJD,which cant see eye-to-eye in neighbouring Bihar,in an alliance with the Congress and JMM. Expect this and more as July 18,when Presidents Rule is due for renewal,approaches.
The understanding is that elections cannot be held in July or August,when the rains come and farmers are busy in the fields. Also,mobilisation of security forces could be difficult in such a short period. The Congress isnt in favour of an election: the state unit realises it is unprepared for one,along with potential partner JMM. Not to talk of the national leaderships wariness of the JMMs less-than-trustworthy reputation as well as of its corruption rapsheet matching its own at the Centre.
On the other hand,Babulal Marandis JVM(P) and the All Jharkhand Students Union have been hard at work swelling their numbers and are poll ready.
The Congress had been hoping that Presidents Rule would create goodwill in its favour. However,the two advisors to the governor concentrated on strengthening the states weak administrative structure than on populist measures.
The other option is to extend Presidents Rule. However,the Congress may struggle to find the numbers to pass a resolution regarding this in the Upper House.
The desperation of the state Congress is palpable evident in the leaders shuttling between its Delhi headquarters and JMM leader Shibu Sorens residence here. Plum positions are up for grabs if a government is installed,even if will last only till next year.
The clash between supporters of two party leaders outside state headquarters on June 21,as new state in-charge B K Hariprasad held talks on government formation inside,was also an evidence of this growing frustration.
That incident,where shots were fired and one worker suffered slight injury,could be a spanner in the works. Or an opportunity. With Jharkhand,one never knows.
Deepu is a senior correspondent based in Ranchi