The 9th CM of Jharkhand took charge of state in last 13 years of the state formation. Hemant Soren, son of tainted Former chief minister of Jharkhand Shibu Soren is the new CM. Hemant Soren’s party JMM is supported by Congress and RJD, who will share ministerial berths in this new government. Yet another coalition government in the state – Is it the road to democracy the tribals dreamt of during the violent phase of separation? The answer is NO
The political ambition of a few politicians is dangerously juxtaposing its self-interest to promote predatory governance, which is undemocratic at its core. Jharkhand has become a chess board for different kind of political coalition of ambition. This coalition government is just another move in this game. The demand for Jharkhand state was based on a movement that aimed to resist non tribal interference in a categorically tribal region. However, such classification has actually diminished; Politicians, at different times, formed governments whose authority instead of being directional acted coercively. The condition of tribal’s’ haven’t improved yet – violence arising from natural resource-related resentment, land alienation, forest rights and employment from state’s mines are still the same as it was before the separation.
The coalition forces are also the same against whom the tribal fought. The corruption and violence in the state has mounted. Political instability is the key to corruption, and is equally crucial ingredient for the rise of such opportunistic coalition. The road to Jharkhand has suddenly become road to corruption and free hand to exploitation. The Jharkhand state is one of the richest states in India in terms of natural resources. Some of the giant industries after independence were established in this part of country (earlier in Bihar). Places like Ranchi, Bokaro, Jamshedpur, and Dhanbad were key industrial hub.
However, after separation political instability and frequent change of governance has led to corruption, mal administration and inefficient management. Some of the Well-known countries that have been run by coalition governments include Germany, Italy, Ireland and Israel has achieved excellent development. But India in general and Jharkhand in particular has failed to generate the kind of development it was expected, given the bountiful earth rich in natural resources.
There are two theoretical underpinning to this poor development track of Jharkhand- corruption and mal administration. Both are outcome of rickety governance, which in turn is due to frequent change of government and coalition politics. The existence of coalition government creates lobbying for the members of government trying to maximize their political capital; such manoeuvre does hamper universal service system meant for entire population across the geographic area. It infact render services to particular community and class who are aligned with the different members of government. The political accountability is also less burdensome as group of members share the accountability, making it diluted share of answerability.
The second set of problem lies with frequent change of government- which in turns promotes maximum utilisation of available resources. The lobbying in this case also considering the volatility of government, tries to indulge in maximum profit-making through free hand corruption and mismanagement. We have the case of Madhu Kora, the ex chief minister of Jharkhand (a product of short lived coalition government) who created enormous assets by indulging in high power corruption in the state. The frequent change of government also promotes bureaucratic lapses and mismanagement.
Jharkhand has faced this all in the last one decade. The frequent coalition governance is what is preventing this state from achieving the desired development it deserves.
However the impracticality problem of coalition government is pushing the state to the brink. A state whose more than half the population live below the poverty line, and half the children younger than three are considered malnourished, with same percentage of children not having full immunization against childhood diseases . It has one of India’s highest mortality rates for children under five. About half of households having no toilet facilities, and safe drinking water is not available to nearly one-quarter of the state’s population does not deserve a frequent unstable government based on political premises and not on legitimate welfare and development intention. The time will tell how long this coalition works to rip this natural resource rich state off its wealth.