Cong buys time on pretext of constitutional crisis

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Ranchi, Jan 20 (UNI) The Congress today apparently bought time on pretext of ''constitutional crisis'' saying withdrawal of support to the UPA-backed Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand ahead of the Simaria Assembly by-election will plunge the state into ''unwanted'' President's rule.

The party, however, in a virtual snub to other UPA allies in the state, asserted that it would fight the February 4 polls despite Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Rashtriya Janta Dal extending support to CPI candidate Ramchandra Ram.

CWC member and in-charge of the state Ajay Maken told a news conference here that he received the progress report from the Chief Minister about his government's performance in the past two months and made it clear that he was not satisfied.

''But the party would not like to take any drastic decision on withdrawing support at this juncture as it would push the state into President's rule, which would not be constitutionally a correct move and that too before the Simaria by-poll,'' he observed.

Significantly, RJD vice-president and party in-charge of the state Ramai Ram held a separate news conference here and expressed satisafction over the functioning of the Koda government.

Asking the Congress to make a clear stand over extending support to the state government, Mr Ram said the Central leadership of the UPA should sit and try to solve the crisis.

''The Congress should not make ambiguous statements over continuing its support to the Koda government as such a move would certainly result in President's rule in the state,'' Mr Ram said.

Asked if the Congress decision to field candidate in Simaria was violation of UPA coalition spirit, Mr Maken justified the stand saying the RJD and JMM had not consulted them before their decision to support the Left candidate in the fray.

''Hence we were left independent to decide on our own,'' the CWC member said.

On the Congress poll strategy, Mr Maken said they held state working committee meeting in which youth wing and women cadres were given responsible assignments.

''We will fight the poll on development and corruption,'' he added.

Mr Maken reiterated that the Congress would take a final decision on pulling out of the Koda government after taking into confidence UPA allies.

''We will not compromise on issues like development and corruption,'' he said adding that the UPA allies would appreciate the Congress compulsion in case no other alternaive was left but withdrawal of support.

The Congress ultimatum of two months to Mr Koda ended on January 15.

UNI PRS-AM PL SP RS1807

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