59-year-old Mr Das, a former deputy chief minister and BJP vice president, was touted a frontrunner for the top job especially after three-time former chief minister Arjun Munda, considered the tallest tribal leader of the party, lost the elections from his stronghold Kharsawan. (Read more...) Another former chief minister from the party, Babulal Marandi who lost two seats that he contested, is also a tribal leader.
Hence, the BJP is reportedly considering a tribal leader as deputy chief minister to placate the community which comprises around 32 per cent of Jharkhand's population. Neelkanth Munda and Shiv Shankar Urav, sources say, are the likely contenders for the post. Mr Munda, sources add, is likely to be appointed a national vice president of the party.
Two senior BJP leaders, Health Minister JP Nadda and Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, will be the observers at today's legislature party meeting to oversee the election of the new chief minister.
Jharkhand has had nine governments and three stints of President's Rule since it was created in 2000.
In its election campaign, the BJP had promised a stable government in the state. It did not project a chief ministerial candidate and built its campaign around Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his development agenda. The PM had addressed several rallies in the state.
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