Is BJP trying to have its cake and eat it too? | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Is BJP trying to have its cake and eat it too?

The BJP's differences over not fully owning up yet another political experiment with a recalcitrant JMM has left it open to criticism that the party is trying to "have the cake as well as eat it". Shekhar Iyer reports.

delhi Updated: Sep 11, 2010 23:25 IST
Shekhar Iyer

The BJP's differences over not fully owning up yet another political experiment with a recalcitrant JMM has left it open to criticism that the party is trying to "have the cake as well as eat it".

Top leaders like L K Advani, M M Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley stayed away from Arjun Munda's swearing–in ceremony in Ranchi on Saturday. The central BJP's representative being only Rajnath Singh.

Surprisingly, party chief Nitin Gadkari — who gave the green signal for the coalition — was also absent. He preferred, instead, to write Munda a letter.

Under fire for allowing the experiment, Gadkari told Munda to deliver good governance, thereby justifying the BJP's latest bid to wrest power.

"The BJP has always insisted on striving to give high quality governance in the states it is ruling. I am confident that your government will offer a 'government that delivers' to the people of Jharkhand," wrote Gadkari.

Lack of development and threat of Naxalism are the twin challenges facing the state and Gadkari hoped that Munda's team will tackle them effectively.

BJP sources said Advani and others stayed away as they were not sure about the longevity of the coalition after the see-saw in ties with the JMM. They did not want to appear to be associated with the move, which was largely seen as the "handicraft" of Rajnath Singh.

In Delhi, Advani evaded queries on reports that he was unhappy about his party's decision to form a coalition government with the JMM.

The BJP broke ties when Sibu Soren voted for the UPA on cut motions in Lok Sabha four months ago, though he was Jharkhand CM with BJP support.

Later, Munda and Soren's son Hemant brought before the central leadership a BJP-led coalition plan. This did not take off because Soren, at the last minute, withdrew consent.

Ten days ago, Munda worked out a fresh pact with Soren and convinced Gadkari that it was
a "good deal" to keep the Congress out and send a strong political message before assembly polls in neighbouring Bihar.

The party's parliamentary board did not meet to okay afresh the latest deal.

Advani had been insisting that the BJP avoid a quick-fix solution with the JMM and strive for a clean government and image under an experienced hand like former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha.

Backed by Rajnath Singh, Munda, however, insisted that he alone could "manage" the coalition, particularly with all 46 MLAs backing it.