Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari had consulted senior leader LK Advani before announcing Arjun Munda's candidature for the chief minister's post in Jharkhand, the party clarified on Friday amid speculation that there were divisions over the move.
The clarification came following reports that Advani was upset at being kept in the dark about Munda being chosen for the chief minister's post and the BJP's decision to seek the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's backing to form the government in Jharkhand.
"These are all creation by media," party spokesperson Ramnath Kovind told IANS, refuting the speculation about the supposed tensions between Advani and Gadkari.
Gadkari, who is chairman of the party's parliamentary board, had consulted with Advani and other parliamentary board members on phone from Russia on developments in Jharkhand and on Munda's appointment, Kovind said.
He added that Munda's was the only name that figured and there was unanimity on his selection.
"No parliamentary board meeting has taken place because the party president is abroad," Kovind said.
Gadkari left for Russia on Sep 6 on an invitation from the 'Water Freedom Revolution' (WFR) and is due back Friday.
According to Kovind, names of other leaders were considered for the chief minister's post when the BJP withdrew support to the JMM-led government of Shibu Soren in May. This necessitated President's Rule in the state.
During that time of political uncertainty, the names of several leaders, including former union finance minister and Lok Sabha MP Yashwant Sinha, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker Karia Munda and Munda, figured as amongst the probables for chief minister.
"Now everybody has agreed on the election of Arjun Munda because of some political compulsions. We are confident he can provide good governance and stability to the state," Kovind added.
While Kovind spoke confidently, not everybody in the party backed him.
"Not only Advaniji...other leaders are also not happy with the developments (in Jharkhand)," said a senior leader who did not want to be identified.
"There is a clear division within the party on this issue," he said without elaborating.