Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Massive Failue

It was a long-drawn political movement that finally culminated in the mineral-rich Jharkhand region of Bihar breaking away from its parent state. The new state of Jharkhand was expected to be the most prosperous of the new states given its vast natural resources and cheap labour.

Alas, far from being the most prosperous, it seems the state is now worse off than even Bihar. Unlike the other new states, this one has been politically unstable, with tribal votes changing the balance of power with every election. In its ten years, the state saw eight Chief Ministers take office and several spells of President's Rule. Almost every time, it has been the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the chief power behind the creation of the new state, that was blamed for the instability.

Things came to such a head that an Independent, Madhu Koda, was made Chief Minister with backing from the JMM and Congress. Today, the same Madhu Koda is being investigated for corruption to the tune of Rs. 4,000 cr!

From education to health, the state has witnessed a virtual collapse. Birth rates have been rising while resources have not been tapped; corruption is extraordinarily high and touches every sphere of life; and the Naxalites have converted the state into their own personal fiefdom, reigning terror in nearby states of West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. The law and order situation is so grim that holding elections in this small state is seen as a Herculean task.

Jharkhand stands as a classic example of how poor political leadership can wreak havoc on the future of a state that was otherwise expected to enjoy great prosperity. Unfortunately, even the new BJP-JMM-AJSA-JD(U) coalition seems unstable. Until the political climate improves, nothing much can be hopes from the state.

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