The Congress will not take the support of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, facing money laundering charges, or any of his supporters under any circumstaces to form a government in the state, party leader and Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Maken said on Monday.
Mr. Maken, who was the Congress in-charge of the state during Koda’s tenure, said the party would prefer to sit in the Opposition benches than seek support from “corrupt leaders.”
“We will make our own government in the state for sure. If at all we fall short, as you asked, under no circumstances will we take Koda’s support. When I say Koda, I also mean anyone who is corrupt. We want to give a clean government.
“We would prefer to sit in the Opposition benches rather than try and gobble up numbers by joining hands with corrupt (leaders),” Mr. Maken told PTI in an interview while he was here for campaigning ahead of the phase four of the ongoing assembly polls scheduled on December 12.
He said, “By corrupt we mean not only those who have been convicted in court but also others.”
Mr. Maken said investigations into the Koda case would be taken to the logical end.
Asked about BJP’s charges that Congress gave support to the Koda government, Mr. Maken said that Koda’s political career started with the RSS and the BJP.
“Cases have been registered and arrests have been made under the Congress regime only. Mining leases given out during Koda’s tenure will be probed besides that sanctioned during Arjun Munda’s tenure,” he said adding, “It was we who gave the 100-day ultimatum to the Koda government and raised the bugle against his corruption.”
He attacked the BJP saying it “is the mother of all corruption in Jharkhand. Madhu Koda was its prodigy, as also some other ex-ministers who had the dubious distinction of having been in every cabinet.”
On recent media reports that quoted a central minister as saying Koda was part of the UPA, Mr. Maken said, “The minister has also clarified that no such statements were made. Koda is not part of UPA and can never be.”
Mr. Maken also took a dig at senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley who had criticised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s remarks on the Opposition for being in the “India Shining-mode” and “ignoring” the poor.
“The BJP leader has never fought and won any election. I would suggest him to fight an election and taste the poll process for himself before commenting on such issues,” he said.
Mr. Maken, who oversees the paramilitary affairs, said Naxalism can be completely eradicated with development.
Asked about the upcoming multi-state coordinated offensive against the left-wing extremism, Mr. Maken said, “We have send more paramilitary personnel to the Naxal-affected states. They are there to help the state government. The Centre along with state will also bring in developmental projects to such areas.”
He said the main reasons for left wing extremism is corruption “because where there is corruption, development cannot happen. Only development can completely eradicate Naxalism.”