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Congress not averse to doing biz with Koda

Congress not averse to doing biz with Koda

Author: Political Bureau
Publication: The Economic Times
Date: November 28, 2009
URL: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/Congress-not-averse-to-doing-biz-with-Koda/articleshow/5277313.cms

AFTER the first phase of elections in Jharkhand, a jittery Congress seems to have abandoned its poll strategy of distancing itself from Madhu Koda, the chief minister it supported while he allegedly amassed disproportionate assets. The party has swung from patting the UPA administration on the back for uncovering the massive scam to describing Mr Koda as a victim of 'trial by media.' Senior Congress leader and Union minister Ambika Soni even hinted that Congress might not be averse to taking all 'secular' support that came its way, Mr Koda included.

"I am not defending Mr Koda, but at the same time, cannot approve of his trial by media. We are not interfering with investigations. But holding someone guilty is the jurisdiction of a court. Anyone who respects our commitment to secular development and has faith in our leader (Sonia Gandhi) is welcome to the UPA fold," Ms Soni told a press conference in Ranchi on Thursday.

The statement is at odds with Congress' strategy of putting distance between itself and the scam allegedly spawned by Mr Koda. It even entered into an alliance with Jharkhand's Mr Clean, Babulal Marandi, in order to rid itself of the corruption taint. It had claimed that Congress was not a part of the Koda government but only supported it in order to give the state a stable government. It also claimed the investigation into the scam under a UPA administration was itself a sign of the Congress attitude of zero tolerance towards corruption.

Assessing that it will be damaged to a great extent due to its association with Mr Koda, Congress is persisting with statements about having zero tolerance to corruption but strangely this rhetoric is now accompanied by overtures to Mr Koda. Congress sources explained this by pointing to the prospects of Mr Koda's nominees - he has floated a new party, the Jharkhand Nav Nirman Manch - in six assembly segments of the East Singbhum district.


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