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Raghubar tactful in triumph, Munda ditto

Ranchi, Aug. 17: The elevation of former deputy chief minister and former BJP state president Raghubar Das as the party’s national vice-president in Amit Shah’s team yesterday in Delhi may be the central leadership’s polite way of reworking equations within the state unit before Assembly polls.

The high office given to Das may respectfully and tactfully ease the way for three-time BJP chief minister Arjun Munda to assume the chief minister’s chair, provided the BJP wins the upcoming Vidhan Sabha elections.

The BJP, which is for the first time hoping for a full majority victory in Jharkhand in the wake of the lingering NaMo wave, wants to present a strong state government.

As Das, as national vice-president, will spend more time visiting many states and strengthening the party’s organisational base, those in the Munda camp are cautiously optimistic. They feel that Munda, if allowed to lead a majority government instead of dealing with fractious coalitions, would do an efficient job as chief minister.

But, Munda’s critics, who are also treading equally cautiously, say that he has already been given three chances. Coalition or no, his governance left much to be desired, they feel. Subdued whispers within the BJP are hoping for a completely fresh chief ministerial face — Sudarshan Bhagat or Karia Munda being among the top names.

A circumspect Das, who returned to Jamshedpur today after being felicitated at BJP headquarters in Ranchi yesterday, played safe. “I have never asked for any post. Whatever the party asks me to do, I will do so now and in the future,” Das maintained today.

“My priority will be to ensure a majority BJP government in the state, which is the need of the hour given the fact Jharkhand as a state is not performing to its fullest capacity. Reports of corruption are more prominent than development work,” he said.

“Our great party has given a chance to a humble worker like me,” said the non-tribal leader of the Vaishya community who was Jharkhand’s deputy chief minister in 2009-10, the BJP’s state president in 2004-05 and 2009-10 and has headed many departments since the state’s birth in 2000.

Das is the fourth from Jharkhand to hold the chair of BJP national vice-president. Before him, three Jharkhand leaders — eight-time MP and former deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha Karia Munda, former chief minister Babulal Marandi who now heads JVM, and Yashwant Sinha, former Union external affairs minister — have held the chair.

Arjun Munda, who was made the BJP’s national general secretary in 2009, was also politically correct.

“He (Raghubar Das) has been given an important post,” Munda said. On the chief minister’s chair, Munda said: “Talking about it does not sound good. Let the party decide.”

Adding to the mystery, the BJP central leadership is also in no mood to announce the state’s chief ministerial candidate before Assembly polls.

On other prominent faces, the buzz is that Yashwant Sinha is likely to be given a place in proposed National Development Reforms Commission. Grapevine is rife on Babulal Marandi returning to the fold if promised the chief minister’s chair.