The knives are out in the Bharatiya Janata Party even before Arjun Munda is sworn in as Jharkhand Chief Minister.
Several senior leaders — L.K. Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj — have privately let it be known they will not attend the oath-taking ceremony scheduled in Ranchi for Saturday. “As of now, these leaders are not going to Ranchi tomorrow,” a party leader said on Friday. They are reported to be miffed that they were not taken into confidence by party president Nitin Gadkari before he finalised Mr. Munda's name. Mr. Gadkari had involved the former party chief, Rajnath Singh, in the government-making process.
The list of leaders who will go to Ranchi includes Mr. Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Vijay Goel, Nishikant Dubey and S.S. Ahluwalia, official party sources said.
Earlier this year when the party finally withdrew support to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led government, Dr. Joshi described the developments in the State as the “theatre of the absurd.” Mr. Advani floated the name of Hazaribagh MP Yashwant Sinha as the chief ministerial candidate though he does not enjoy the support of party legislators. Another leader wanted the prized chair to go to the then legislature party leader, Raghuvar Das, but, as one leader disclosed, “16 out of the 18 BJP MLAs preferred Arjun Munda as Chief Minister, and therefore his name was finalised.”