BJP appoints observers for consensus on J`khand CM

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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