Arjun Munda to skip LS election

Last Updated 22 March 2014, 20:01 IST

Notwithstanding his roller-coaster ride in Jharkhand’s politics, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) local heavyweight Arjun Munda has opted out of the parliamentary polls, aspiring for yet another chance to become chief minister of the state.

The tribal leader, who won the Jamshedpur seat by over one lakh votes in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, walked out of national politics after bringing Bidyut Baran Mahato, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) rebel, in his party to contest elections in his place.

The BJP top brass were keen on re-nominating Munda from Jamshedpur as Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantric (JVM-P) candidate Ajoy Kumar, a former IPS, made a resounding victory in the 2011 bypolls beating the saffron party’s candidate Dineshanand Goswami after the seat was vacated by him (Munda).

Munda, however, managed to convince the party leadership to allow him to stay out of the parliamentary polls, promising to provide his all support to Mahto who will lock horns with Kumar, re-nominated by the JVM-P to join the fray from Jamshedpur.

“How many elections will I contest in a term? I want to focus on state politics and the developments here,” Munda told Deccan Herald, adding that his immediate concern was to build public opinion in favour of the BJP’s Lok Sabha candidates.

After three sitting MLAs of the JMM-led ruling coalition government defected from their parties to contest the Lok Sabha polls on their rival party’s tickets, the opposition in the state is demanding Chief Minister Hemant Soren to show his strength.

“The government is now in minority. But we will see it after the elections as our first concern is to ensure our party wins maximum Lok Sabha seats,” Munda said.

Munda quit the Lok Sabha in February 2011 on his election to the state assembly, after becoming the chief minister in 2010 for the third time since 2003.

Beginning his political career with the JMM under Shibu Soren in the 1980s, Munda switched sides joining the BJP and winning the assembly polls from Kharsawan since 1995.
He shot into the limelight when he replaced former BJP leader and first chief minister of the state Babulal Marandi in March 2003.

A sulking Marandi later quit the BJP and floated the JVM-P.

(Published 22 March 2014, 20:01 IST)

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