BJP Keeps Jharkhand Cabinet Compact, Considers Taking JVM Onboard

Sources said that a truncated Cabinet of four to five ministers (as against the usual 12) is expected to take oath along with the CM on Sunday.

Published: 28th December 2014 06:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th December 2014 09:22 AM   |  A+A-

RaghuwarDas-PTI

RANCHI: Political history will be scripted at  Birsa Munda football stadium at Morhabadi here on Sunday, where Raghubar Das will be sworn in as first non-tribal Chief Minister of Jharkhand.  Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and a number of senior party leaders, including Union Ministers Arun Jaitley and Dharmendra Pradhan are expected to attend the ceremony.

The inauguration of the BJP Government is touted to be a grand affair.However, sources said that a truncated Cabinet of four to five ministers (as against the usual 12) is expected to take oath along with the CM.

It was also revealed that C P Singh, Neelkanth Singh Munda, Shiv Shankar Oraon and Louis Marandi will take charge as ministers along with the CM. C P Singh was the Speaker in the previous government headed by Arjun Munda. Meanwhile,CM-designate on Saturday airdashed to Delhi for discussions with Shah regarding the structure of his Cabinet.Das was accompanied by BJP Jharkhand unit president Ravindra Rai and alliance partner All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) chief Sudesh Mahto. However, Das  did not divulge the details of his Cabinet saying it would be clear after discussions with senior party leaders.

There is a political reason for keeping some of the Cabinet berths vacant as the BJP is in talks with Babulal Marandi to merge his eight-year-old Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) with the saffron party.

Suspense also continues over the role of BJP heavyweight Saryu Roy, elected from Jamshedpur (west). Roy is not on good terms with Das and may opt for the Speaker’s post.

“Nothing has been discussed about our role in the government. It all depends on the outcome of Das’ discussion with the party’s senior leaders,” Roy said.

Sources also said that there was pressure to appoint a tribal MLA as Deputy CM to placate the tribal lobby, which is upset with the BJP decision to go in for a non-tribal CM designate.

“If Shah agrees to the proposal, Shiv Shankar Oraon, a JNU-educated and first-time MLA from Gumla, or Neelkanth Singh Munda, a former minister, might fit the bill,” said a senior BJP leader.

Oraon had been working with Vikas Bharti, an RSS-backed NGO, and is expected to play a key role in the state government.

Das had called upon Vikas Bharti secretary Ashok Bhagat a day before the BJP Legislature Party(LP) meeting.

The AJSU has appointed Chandra Prakash Chaudhary as its LP Leader. He will be one of the two ministers from the AJSU quota.

For the second post, there will be a toss-up between Lohardaga MLA, Kamal Kishore Bhagat and Tundi legislator Raj Kishore Mahto.

Meanwhile, talks are on with the JVM, said a senior BJP leader. The JVM had bagged eight seats, but most of these MLAs may not remain loyal to Marandi in the longer run. Mwarandi himself has lost the elections and does not command the unflinching support of his party MLAs.

For the BJP, the JVM merger will protect them from political blackmail by the AJSU.

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