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BJP Top Brass To Skip Munda Oath-Taking Ceremony

New Delhi: BJP top brass, including L K Advani and party president Nitin Gadkari, will skip the swearing-in ceremony of Arjun Munda as Chief Minister of Jharkhand tomorrow amidst reports of differences within the party
PTI September 10, 2010 22:49 IST
PTI
New Delhi: BJP top brass, including L K Advani and party president Nitin Gadkari, will skip the swearing-in ceremony of Arjun Munda as Chief Minister of Jharkhand tomorrow amidst reports of differences within the party over formation of the government with JMM.  

Besides Advani and Gadkari, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and her counterpart in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley will also not attend the event, party sources said tonight.

Though, officially, BJP leaders have attributed Advani's decision to not attend the function to two major festivals -- Eid and Ganesh Chaturthi -- falling on the same day, party sources said the veteran leader has decided to skip the event as he is miffed with the developments in the tribal state. Gadkari will not attend the function as he has to take part in Ganesh Chaturthi rituals.  

President's Rule was imposed in Jharkhand on June 1 with the Assembly being put under suspended animation after BJP withdrew support to Shibu Soren-led government when the JMM chief had voted with the UPA during cut motions in Parliament.  

Once decks were cleared for government formation with JMM, Advani had favoured the baton being handed over to BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who, he believed, could bring a "qualitative difference" to the issue of governance in Jharkhand, thanks to his past experience as Union Minister for Finance and External Affairs.  

Advani was against BJP forming a coalition government with JMM as he was unhappy with the past experience of the party with the Shibu Soren-led outfit.  

"Several leaders will attend the swearing-in function but many will not be able to go as there are two festivals on the same day," BJP chief spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told reporters here when asked if the stalwart leader would go to Jharkhand. He refused to reply to queries if the issue of choosing Munda as the chief minister had created divisions in the party.  

The BJP and the JMM had formed a coalition government on December 30 last year under Shibu Soren. But it lasted for only five months.  

Among the BJP leaders who are certain to attend the function are former party president Rajnath Singh, Ravishankar Prasad and Uttrakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. PTI