M A I N   N E W S

7 Jharkhand ministers rebel against Munda
Satish Misra and S. Satyanarayanan
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 25
With seven of the 11 ministers in Jharkhand openly revolting against the “style of functioning” of Chief Minister Arjun Munda, the BJP today went into a firefighting mode and announced the formation of two coordination committees, one of which would include the dissident non-BJP ministers, to tide over the crisis for the time being.

The party, however, did not reveal who will be heading these two separate committees, though there is speculation in the party circle that former state Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, who is reportedly behind this rebellion, could head the BJP coordination committee, while Mr Madhu Kaura could head the NDA coordination committee.

The announcement about the two committees were made by BJP General Secretary in charge of Jharkhand, after an hour-long meeting of BJP legislators and the dissidents with party President L.K. Advani.

The trouble in Jharkhand had been brewing for the past few days with five non-BJP, non-JD (U) ministers — Mr Sudesh Mahto, Mr Madhu Kaura, Mr Enos Ekka, Chandra Prakash Chaudhary and Mr Hari Narain Rai — openly attacking Mr Munda and lobbying with the BJP central leadership for his removal.

These ministers landed in the national capital a couple of days back and held a separate meeting with Mr Advani and conveyed their “grievances” against Mr Munda.

“We have decided to form coordination committees both at the party and NDA level,” Mr Rajnath Singh told newspersons here after an hour-long meeting of BJP legislators and the dissidents in the presence of Mr Advani.

The meeting took place in the backdrop of dissident ministers, all independent MLAs, openly revolted against the Chief Minister over his “style of functioning”.

Asked about reported demands of dissidents that Mr Munda be removed as Chief Minister, Mr Rajnath Singh said: “We are not aware of any such demands and we will inform you whenever such issues arise.” To another question on who will be the chairpersons of these two committees, Mr Rajnath Singh said it has been left to the state unit to decide.

This has sparked speculation in the party that Mr Marandi, who has been keen to become the Chief Minister again, could be appointed the chairperson of the BJP coordination committee and the NDA coordination committee could be headed by Mr Madhu Kora.

Today’s decision of the party means that the BJP is not keen on the removal of Arjun Munda as Jharkhand Chief Minister for the time being. The constitution of the two coordination committees not only means clipping the wings of Mr Munda, but would also lead to a situation in which the heads of the two committees would function as “super Chief Ministers” resulting in three parallel power centres. 


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