With BJP pondering over the JMM’s offer to hand over the reins of a new Jharkhand government to its candidate, lobbying for the coveted post has already begun.

According to BJP insiders, ex-cm and party’s national general secretary Arjun Munda and Deputy Chief Minister Raghuvar Das have ‘stepped up lobbying’

The BJP Parliamentary Board this morning decided to put on hold its decision to withdraw support to the Shibu Soren government after receiving a letter from JMM leader Hemant Soren expressing willingness to support a government led by BJP.

Mr. Munda, a two-time Chief Minister, has an edge over Mr. Das as Mr. Hemant Soren last night made it clear that the party would prefer a tribal chief minister. Mr. Das is a non-tribal.

Though Jharkhand is set to witness its eighth government in over nine years, no non-tribal has ever become a chief minister.

In Jharkhand politics the trend has been that if the Chief Minister is chosen from the leading party, supporting parties will be given the option to choose a deputy Chief Minister.

Stephen Marandi (IND) and Sudhir Mahato (JMM) had been the deputies of ex-CM Madhu Koda and Raghuvar Das (BJP) and Sudesh Mahto (Ajsu party) are the deputies to JMM president and Chief Minister Shibu Soren.

Going by this precedence, JMM legislature party leader Hemant Soren has a claim on the deputy chief minister’s post.

Mr. Hemant had yesterday sent a fresh letter to the BJP leadership offering the Chief Minister’s post.

A JMM leader and confidant of Mr. Hemant neither denied nor confirmed when asked if he was the likely candidate for the deputy CM’s post.

“In Jharkhand you never know what will happen in the next moment. Let us allow things to take their natural course,” the JMM leader said.

At a press conference last night, another Deputy Chief Minister and AJSU President Sudesh Mahto had requested the BJP/JMM to sort out their problems and continue with the alliance in the interest of the state.

CPI(M) central committee member and Jharkhand unit secretary, J. S. Majumdar, has predicted a ninth government soon if the eighth was formed by the BJP at present.

“We have been saying that the BJP/JMM’s alliance is unnatural, and it turned out to be true when the BJP announced its withdrawal of support. But again the two parties are out to stitch yet another unholy alliance which will not last very long, and the state should gear up for a ninth government after the formation of the eighth,” Majumdar said.

However, a section of the BJP is unwilling to take the lead in the government formation and allow Shibu Soren to continue as Chief Minister.

“We should allow Shibu Soren to continue as the chief minister and end the crisis,” said a BJP leader who did not favour a leadership change at this juncture.

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