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Next CM, stability weigh heavy on BJP

The BJP’s decision to consider Hemant Soren’s offer of JMM support to a BJP-led government has triggered a race for the chief minister’s chair in Jharkhand.

delhi Updated: May 01, 2010 00:49 IST

The BJP’s decision to consider Hemant Soren’s offer of JMM support to a BJP-led government has triggered a race for the chief minister’s chair in Jharkhand.

If a government does get formed, BJP general secretary Arjun Munda, former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha and Jharkhand deputy CM Rabhubar Das are being seen as the frontrunners for the post.

There are other issues too: whether the JMM will be able to keep its flock together to form a government with the BJP, and how to extract a JMM commitment for a stable government.

For, JMM’s Simon Marandi and Teklal Mahto, with the backing of Lobin Hembrom, Bidyut Baran Mahto and Ram das Soren, openly opposed Hemant’s line.

A Jharkhand BJP activist, however, said that the emergence of dark horse could also not be ruled out.

But Arjun Munda’s advantage lies in his being a tribal. Jharkhand has never had a non-tribal chief minister. Hemant Soren, being seen as the future deputy CM, urged the BJP leadership in his letter that a tribal be chosen for the top post.

Sources say some top central leaders, however, would like to back Yashwant Sinha – a non-tribal, but a seasoned administrator.

As both Munda and Sinha are MPs and will have to get elected to the assembly within six months, a senior BJP leader said: “They would wonder whether a bird in hand is better than two in the bush.”

The suggestion: a new Jharkhand government would be unstable, and the JMM may pull the rug before long.

BJP’s Raghubar Das – the current deputy chief minister – is another contender, although he is not a tribal and neither has Sinha’s stature.

On Friday evening, BJP’s Das, Prasanna Mishra and Ranjan Patel arrived in Delhi to meet party president Nitin Gadkari on Saturday. Gadkari, after meeting Hemant Soren, will hold discussions with the party’s Parliamentary Board before taking a final decision.

The Parliamentary Board had already decided in the morning to consider Hemant Soren’s proposal of JMM support On Friday morning.