Jharkhand CM: Hattrick for Arjun Munda
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Last Updated: Thursday, September 09, 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 09, 2010, 18:03


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