Jharkhand CM: Hattrick for Arjun Munda

Last Updated: Thursday, September 9, 2010 - 18:03

Ranchi: Arjun Munda, who joined the BJP
twelve years ago after quitting the JMM, is set to be sworn in
as Jharkhand Chief Minister next Saturday for the third time
with help from his former party.

Munda is only the second leader after Shibu Soren to
occupy the post of Chief Minister thrice in the state.

Appreciated for his skill to inspire partymen while
remaining out of power, the 42-year-old tribal leader took to
golf to motivate himself when he lost the chair to now tainted
Madhu Koda on September 18, 2006.

"I used to take morning walks at Mohrabadi in Ranchi
with the securitymen following, and basically to avoid that
peculiar situation, I chose to play golf at the golf course in
Jamshedpur to remain physically fit," Munda had confided to
newsmen weeks after losing the battle to Koda.

He, however, did not opt out of the race altogether to
be at the chair once again and continued to weigh options and
opportunities.

Eventually, the chance came when BJP`s national
president Nitin Gadkari asked state unit chief Raghuvar Das to
quit as Legislature Party leader after Munda managed to pull
around old allies to enable him to stake claim on September 7
with the support of 45 MLAs.

For the first time, no national BJP leader was
directly involved in the state`s political affairs, probably
after the bitter experience with the JMM this year that
eventually led to the promulgation of President`s rule on June
one. Munda had been with the All-Jharkhand Students Union
before joining the JMM and winning the Kharsawan Assembly seat
on its ticket in 1995.

Three years later, he switched over to the BJP and
retained his seat in 2000 Assembly polls held in undivided
Bihar.

He became the Tribal Welfare Minister in the first
Babulal Marandi-led NDA coalition after the state was formed
on November 15, 2000.

Munda kept his ambition under wraps till he got an
opportunity to replace Marandi when seven ministers of the
coalition government switched over to Opposition benches in
March, 2003 -- an event which led Marandi to snap ties with
the BJP later.

Munda led the NDA in the 2005 Assembly elections and
secured a combined 36 seats, but had to wait for a fortnight
before forcing the 9-day-old Shibu Soren government out of
office through a legal battle.

He claimed the Chief Minister`s seat on March 13,
2005, only to lose again to Koda 18 months later.

Munda, who did not contest the 2009 Assembly elections
after winning from Jamshedpur in the May general elections
that year, will have to win a bypoll to enter the House within
six months.

This is the fourth time in the state`s political
history that a Lok Sabha member will adorn the Chief
Minister`s chair.

Shibu Soren had the distinction thrice - twice he
resigned for not having House majority and once failing to
enter the House after losing a bypoll on January 9, 2009.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, September 9, 2010 - 18:03

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