TIMES NEWS NETWORK[ MONDAY, MAY 15, 2006 12:40:17 AM]
NEW DELHI: The ghost of infighting has come back to haunt the BJP. Even as it reels under a near wash-out performance in the just-concluded assembly polls, its Jharkhand unit was plunging into trouble, with BJP national vice-president Babulal Marandi once again raising a banner of revolt against chief minister Arjun Munda.
Alarmed with reports of defiance by the former chief minister, the BJP leadership has decided to rush Sanjay Joshi, general secretary in-charge of organisation, to Ranchi on Monday on a damage-control mission.
Mr Marandi, who has been at odds with the party leadership for ignoring his claims for the chief minister’s post after the state’s first ever assembly polls last year, has joined hands with state UPA convenor and former deputy chief minister Stephen Marandi to float a non-political outfit, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM).
He did not stop at this. While addressing the forum’s inaugural function in the steel city of Jamshedpur, Mr Marandi criticised the Munda administration for its failure to rein in corruption and ignoring developmental concerns.
This has sent alarm bells ringing in the BJP, which is yet to recover from the drubbing it received in the just concluded assembly polls. A revival of in-house problems is the last thing that the party leadership would like to grapple with at this juncture.
Even though there is no immediate threat to the Munda government, Mr Marandi’s decision to forge ties with a person who was considered an important figure in the state UPA set-up has come as a big embarrassment to the BJP leadership.
Mr Joshi’s job, in that sense, would be to assess the ground-level situation on the basis of feedback from a cross-section of the party leadership in Jharkhand, and decide whether the former chief minister’s action construed an act of indiscipline.
This is not the first time the BJP vice-president has opened a front against the Munda government. He had launched a tirade against the state government last year too, levelling charges of corruption against it and dubbing it as being anti-development.