2013 saw two govts, Prez rule, Lalu conviction in Jharkhand

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Ranchi, Dec 27: RJD chief Lalu Prasad's conviction in the fodder scam, perpetual rise and fall of governments and Maoists' daring elimination of a senior police official marked a tumultuous year in Jharkhand.

Lalu's followers were left stunned when a CBI court convicted him and sentenced him to five years rigorous imprisonment in a fodder scam case in October. His release from a jail here 74 days later on bail granted by the Supreme Court re-energised RJD workers.

After walking free on bail, Lalu claimed he would rein in Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's "communal rath" but senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha termed him as an "empty shell" that had lost its explosiveness.

Former Chief Minister Madhu Koda, whose MLA wife supports the JMM-Congress-RJD government, also got bail in connection with a multi-crore scam that was allegedly unearthed during his tenure between 2006 and 2008. Similar to political upheaval scenes seen during previous years, 2013 too saw a political crisis with the Arjun Munda-led BJP-JMM-Ajsu coalition falling after the JMM walked out. Munda resigned on January 8 with his 'minority' Cabinet recommending dissolution of Jharkhand Assembly.

Rejecting the recommendation, Governor Syed Ahmed recommended President's rule and it was imposed on January 18, for the third time in the state's short political history. JMM leader Hemant Soren took over the reins of the ninth government stitching an alliance with Congress and RJD on July 13 even as hiccups among allies continued intermittently with some MLAs, what a ruling partner alleged, exerting pressure on the government to realise various demands.

PCC spokesman Sailesh Sinha backed Union minister and new head of Jharkhand Coordination Committee Jairam Ramesh's letter to Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde urging him to initiate the process of increasing number of seats in the 82-member Jharkhand assembly to ensure political stability, a proposal the assembly had taken through passing resolutions twice and sent it to the Centre in the past.

Making efforts to implement developmental projects across the state, Chief Minister Soren time and again asked the people to beware of "middle men" hindering progress. Perplexed on knowing that there were 1.5 lakh fake pensioners in the state under social security, Soren said his endeavour was to ensure genuine people get their share of benefits under all welfare schemes.

Many issues marked a tumultuous year in Jharkhand.

The CPI (Maoist), which had been carrying out at least one big guerrilla strike almost every year since its creation on November 15, 2000, eliminated Pakur SP Amarjit Balihar and four other policemen in Dumka district on July 2. There were neither CRPF personnel present in that area nor road-opening party sent to check the route ahead of the SP's return from a meeting on that ill-fated day, according to police.

According to Inspector General of CRPF M V Rao, the paramilitary force took extra caution after the January 7 incident near Katia forest in Latehar district where 13 persons, including nine CRPF personnel and a Jharkhand Jaguar jawan, were killed by the Maoists.

According to police, till November, at least 16 police personnel were killed by Maoists in different districts while some Naxalites were also killed during encounters.

117 civilians were killed by Naxals and their splinter groups during the year. In a turf war between the rebel groups at Lakarbandha in worst-affected Chatra district, 10 top Maoists were killed by Tritiya Prastuti Committee, a breakaway group of the CPI (Maoist).

Amid dealing with Left wing extremism, police stumbled upon Indian Mujahideen's Ranchi module after the October 27 Patna bomb blasts. Raids at different places here led to the arrest of two blast suspects and recovery of nine bombs from a private lodge that matched those used in Patna and Bodhgaya blasts.

Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's brother Narendra Singh Dhoni joined Samajwadi Party and the party decided to field him from the Ranchi Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 General Elections.

PTI

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