Arjun Munda at his Kanke Road residence in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Jan. 11: Arjun Munda has revealed that Shibu Soren wasn’t keen on toppling the coalition government of Jharkhand, but that his son, Hemant, capitalised on an internal strife within the BJP leadership and ultimately precipitated the political crisis.
“Sarkar girane mein inside factors jyada involved the. (Internal factors played a major role in toppling my government),” Munda told The Telegraph in a tête-à-tête on the sidelines of a lunch he hosted at his Kanke Road residence for friends, supporters and the media today.
Munda, who not only looked relaxed in his trade-mark maroon jacket and kurta-pyjama suit, did not spell out the “inside factors”. But it was clear his jab was directed at senior leaders of the party, like Yashwant Sinha and Raghubar Das, who were quite sceptical of the BJP-JMM-Ajsu coalition government in the first place.
MP Nishikant Dubey’s frequent outbursts against the state government and the JMM on matters related to Santhal Pargana — the Sorens’ pocket borough — may have also contributed to creating an atmosphere of mistrust that helped Hemant to step up the ante.
Hence, there was more to the events of the past few days than a failed swap deal for the chief minister’s post.
Munda, sources said, was making plans to spend the better part of the next few days playing golf at Cockerel Club in the Booty More area of city where an amateurs’ meet is scheduled for tomorrow.
No wonder he looked unburdened and ready to open up.
The caretaker chief minister clarified that his decision to resign on Monday, after the state cabinet recommended dissolution of the Assembly, was taken after informing party’s central leadership. “I have not taken any unilateral decision. Whatever decisions were taken by me, it was in full knowledge of the central leadership. I kept them in confidence,” he said, referring to criticism regarding his style of functioning.
Munda also let in on inner-party contradictions within the JMM. He said JMM chief Shibu Soren, his one-time political mentor, never wanted to topple his government.
Apparently, Guruji was of the view that it was extremely difficult to form a government, keeping in mind the fluid political situation of Jharkhand that has thrown up a fragmented mandate ever since its inception 12 year ago.
Therefore, it was better to try and work around the differences between parties.
Munda also was able to drop enough hints that it was Soren junior who seemed more interested in toppling the government on “petty issues” — most of the JMM’s demands were contradictory in nature, he said — even though some of their ministers were against the idea.
But the consummate politician he is, Munda left no doubt that he had the ability to ride over disappointments easily. He interacted in chaste Mundari with a number of visitors who had come from his constituency of Kharsawan to wish him on the occasion of Tushu Parab.
He sat with them as they enjoyed the sumptuous spread of palak paneer, mutton and chicken curry and jalebis with rabdi. In the evening, the caretaker chief minister had plans of catching a movie with his family at a multiplex. But that had to be cancelled at the last minute.