Breaking the three-month political impasse in Jharkhand, former chief minister Arjun Munda was today elected leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Legislature Party, and was readying to inform the governor that the Assembly, under suspended animation, should be revived so that he could stake claim to form a government.
Jharkhand has been under President’s Rule since June 1.
Munda negotiated with the faction-ridden Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) and won them over with both temptation and fear. Using two BJP members who have extensive business interests, Munda convinced MLAs that if JMM and AJSU did not support the BJP, the Assembly might be dissolved and MLAs would have to fight an election again.
This exercise began around four weeks ago when Munda succeeded in persuading party chief Nitin Gadkari to view the situation from the perspective of the MLAs. Two party members, Tulsi Aggarwal and Sandeep Kalia, were used as interlocutors to contact the JMM and AJSU, which have 18 and five seats respectively in the 81-member Assembly. The BJP has 18 seats.
The last time the BJP had discussions with the JMM, it relied on the negotiating skills of Hemant Soren, son of JMM patriarch Shibu Soren, who does not enjoy the confidence of all factions of the JMM. This time, Hemant was sidelined.