Charges of horse trading in Rajya Sabha polls mar 2012 for Jharkhand

Arjun Munda

Ruling ally JMM keeping Chief Minister Arjun Munda on tenterhooks, scrapping of Rajya Sabha elections on horse trading ground and a marginal decline in Maoist violence marked the year 2012 for Jharkhand.

Munda, who recovered fast after surviving the helicopter accident along with his wife and others on May 9, tried to accelerate progressive schemes, but the pulls and pressures of coalition politics continued to put spokes in his efforts.

He was under constant pressure after JMM supremo Shibu Soren claimed that there was a "deal" of 28-month-a-side power sharing formula with the BJP that "will end in January". Soren's claim sparked off a barrage of verbal claims and denials by leaders of both the allies with the developmental works getting a beating in the last quarter.

Initially Munda did not believe after media reported Soren's claims from Bokaro of power sharing formula and the former blamed the media for "putting words" in Soren's mouth.

But the JMM chief's voice grew louder as months wore on and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha intervened to say that there had been no such deal with the JMM even as Soren's son and Deputy chief minister Hemant Soren saying his father "must be right over such a deal".

"The political scenario appeared stable in the first half of the year, but it gradually dragged towards uncertainty due to contradictory statements, pushing Jharkhand politics through a transition phase," senior BJP MLA Raghuvar Das observed on the JMM's claim of the deal.

All along, junior ally AJSU, under the leadership of Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto, silently went on with strengthening its position, and it reflected in the Ajsu candidate Navin Jaiswal's win in the Hatia Assembly bypoll.

Mahto was also successful in alluring some prominent leaders and former Maoists into his party-fold.

Jharkhand politicians cut a sorry figure when the Election Commission scrapped polls to Rajya Sabha for two seats on March 30 and held a re-poll on May 3 following cash seizure from a car on the previous poll day.

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