BJP calls Jharkhand unit leaders to Delhi


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called its party leaders from Jharkhand to Delhi Saturday for consultations on forming an alternative government in the state after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)’s offer to support a BJP-led regime.

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JMM leader and Chief Minister Shibu Soren’s son Hemant Soren, who has offered to support a BJP-led government, is also expected to meet BJP leaders Saturday.

Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde said the party had decided to keep on “hold” its decision to withdraw support to the Shibu Soren government.

He said the central leadership will interact with senior leaders from the state on the possibility of forming an alternative government. “Senior party leaders and MLAs from Jharkhand have been called to Delhi for talks,” Munde told IANS.

Asked about the choice of chief minister, Munde said the leadership would first decide whether to form a new government or not. “The question of chief minister will be decided later by the parliamentary board,” he said.

BJP sources said the party will assess the JMM’s commitment to back a party-led government as rumblings in the party on the issue were already there.

“The BJP wants to discuss various aspects of the situation so that if a government is formed, it is stable. We are not in a hurry,” a senior leader said.

The sources said the possibility of having a BJP chief minister in Jharkhand has been a reason for the party withholding its decision to withdraw support. They said the JMM has conveyed its anti-Congress stance in writing.

Senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar told reporters in the capital that the BJP parliamentary board under the presidentship of party chief Nitin Gadkari had decided to withhold withdrawal of support to the Jharkhand government.

The parliamentary board, he said, had received two letters from the JMM leadership, one from Shibu Soren and the other from his son Hemant after the BJP announced withdrawal of support.

“We received two letters from the leadership of JMM. One was from Shibu Soren in which he appealed that in the interest of the poorer sections of the society of Jharkhand, the state should not be pushed to Congress misrule and the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government should stay,” Ananth Kumar said.

“On April 29, we received another letter from Hemant Soren which said that after considering the political happenings of the past two days, the JMM has decided and is ready to form a government headed by the BJP.”

He said taking cognisance of the letters, the BJP parliamentary board has decided to hold talks with allied parties in the state – the JMM, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) as well as the BJP state unit and take a further decision.

Relations between the BJP and the JMM soured after Shibu Soren, who has not given up his Lok Sabha membership, voted in favour of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) during the cut motions moved by the BJP.

The BJP announced it would withdraw support to the Soren government Thursday, but kept on deferring its meeting with Governor M.O.H. Farook.