BJP appoints observers for consensus on J`khand CM
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Last Updated: Monday, May 10, 2010, 23:04
New Delhi: Internal differences in BJP on chief ministerial candidate for Jharkhand Monday forced its parliamentary board to appoint two senior leaders as central observers for hammering out a consensus so that a government is formed "within a week".

BJP sources said Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar have been designated to discuss the issue with party MLAs.

Modalities for government formation and sharing of cabinet berths in Jharkhand were finalised with JMM on Saturday leaving two BJP leaders - Arjun Munda and Raghubar Das - squabbling for the top post.

Munda has been claiming support of nine tribal BJP MLAs and a few others while those backing Das argue that since JMM leader Hemant Soren is likely to be deputy chief minister, a non-tribal should become CM. They also claim that if Munda becomes CM, a Lok Sabha seat would fall vacant. BJP has 18 MLAs in Jharkhand.

"The BJP parliamentary board has appointed Rajnath Singh and me as central observers. We will meet BJP MLAs in Ranchi tomorrow to discuss the issue. Then we will apprise party president Gadkari of their views. An announcement will be made after that," Ananth Kumar said.

He expressed confidence that a BJP-led government will be formed in Jharkhand "within a week".

MLAs supporting Munda are already in the capital since yesterday and met Singh among other central leaders to lobby for him.

Party sources said the candidature of former union minister Yashwant Sinha has still not been ruled out and in case there is no consensus, he can emerge as the compromise candidate because of his stature.

On why BJP Parliamentary Board failed to finalise its chief ministerial candidate today, Kumar said the purpose of the meeting was to give "formal acceptance" to the decision to form a government in Jharkhand after the understanding with JMM and AJSU on Saturday.

"It also ratified that BJP Chief Minister will be for the remaining term of the assembly," he added.

A proposal by JMM for a rotational chief ministership has already been rejected by the BJP.

In the 82-member Jharkhand Assembly, the new coalition will have 45 members. JMM and BJP have 18 members each, AJSU five and JD-U two. Two Independents are also in this grouping.

Meanwhile, under the deal reached on Saturday JMM will get one more ministerial berth (five in all) and the post of Deputy Speaker. BJP will get the Chief Minister's post and three other ministries, plus the Speaker's post.

The main concern in the BJP camp is to prevent imposition of President's Rule as this may lead to poaching of its MLAs by Congress in an attempt to form a government.

"We want to prevent all possibilities of Congress ensuring imposition of President's Rule in the state. We want to save Jharkhand from Congress misrule," Kumar said.

BJP, JMM, AJSU and JD(U) will chalk out a Common Minimum Programme (CMP)for running the government.

The political crisis in Jharkhand was triggered when Chief Minister Shibu Soren voted against BJP's cut-motion in Lok Sabha. This led BJP Parliamentary Board to decide on April 28 on withdrawing support to the government, a decision which was put on hold when Hemant Soren wrote a letter pledging support to a BJP-led government.


First Published: Monday, May 10, 2010, 23:04

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