BJP top brass to skip Munda oath-taking ceremony

BJP top brass, including L K Advani and party president Nitin Gadkari, will skip the swearing-in ceremony of Arjun Munda as Chief Minister of Jharkhand on Saturday.

Updated: Sep 10, 2010, 22:21 PM IST

New Delhi: BJP top brass, including L K
Advani and party president Nitin Gadkari, will skip the
swearing-in ceremony of Arjun Munda as Chief Minister of
Jharkhand on Saturday amidst reports of differences within the
party over formation of the government with JMM.

Besides Advani and Gadkari, Leader of the Opposition in
Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha
Arun Jaitley will also not attend the event, party sources
said tonight.

Though, officially, BJP leaders have attributed Advani`s
decision to not attend the function to two major festivals --
Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi -- falling on the same day, party
sources said the veteran leader has decided to skip the event
as he is miffed with the developments in the tribal state.

Gadkari will not attend the function as he has to take
part in Ganesh Chaturthi rituals.

President`s Rule was imposed in Jharkhand on June 1 with
the Assembly being put under suspended animation after BJP
withdrew support to Shibu Soren-led government when the JMM
chief had voted with the UPA during cut motions in Parliament.

Once decks were cleared for government formation with
JMM, Advani had favoured the baton being handed over to BJP
leader Yashwant Sinha, who, he believed, could bring a
"qualitative difference" to the issue of governance in
Jharkhand, thanks to his past experience as Union Minister for
Finance and External Affairs.

Advani was against BJP forming a coalition government
with JMM as he was unhappy with the past experience of the
party with the Shibu Soren-led outfit.

"Several leaders will attend the swearing-in function
but many will not be able to go as there are two festivals on
the same day," BJP chief spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told
reporters here when asked if the stalwart leader would go to
Jharkhand.

He refused to reply to queries if the issue of choosing
Munda as the chief minister had created divisions in the
party.

The BJP and the JMM had formed a coalition government on
December 30 last year under Shibu Soren. But it lasted for
only five months.

Among the BJP leaders who are certain to attend the
function are former party president Rajnath Singh, Ravishankar
Prasad and Uttrakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal.

PTI