Union Minister Jairam Ramesh’s denial that Jharkhand MLA Geeta Koda will join the Congress has triggered confusion in the State unit. Mr. Ramesh was appointed head of the State coordination committee earlier this month.

It was only on Monday that Ms. Koda, one of the seven Independents supporting the Congress-Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Rashtriya Janata Dal coalition government, confirmed to The Hindu that she planned to join the Congress. On Tuesday, she declined to comment on Mr. Ramesh's remark that there was no proposal within the Congress to invite her or her husband and former Chief Minister, Madhu Koda, to join the party.

“We are still waiting for word from the central leadership on this,” said PCC president Sukhdeo Bhagat. At present, she represents the Jai Bharat Samanta Party, floated by her husband, in the Assembly.

Other senior leaders said Mr. Ramesh’s reaction to the press in New Delhi on Monday came as a surprise. “There were definitely discussions on Geeta Koda joining the Congress. This was discussed in Delhi as well. The party may have reservations about Madhu Koda, given the pending[corruption] cases against him, but this should not be applied to Geeta Koda,” said a State Congress leader.