Three-time CM Munda's hopes hang in balance

Three-time CM Munda's hopes hang in balance

Senior BJP leader Arjun Munda is widely known for serving three times as Jharkhand chief minister, but the fact that he made his debut as a legislator from Kharsawan in Singhbhum district on a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) ticket is almost forgotten.

A protégé of “Guruji”, (as Shibu Soren, the JMM supremo, is known here), Arjun won the 1995 Assembly election from Kharsawan in the undivided Bihar and became a JMM legislator. 

But soon he changed colours for greener pastures and joined the BJP where he served under the first chief minister of the state, Babulal Marandi, before replacing him (Marandi) in 2003. Since then, he has been at the helm thrice, thereby making Kharsawan his fiefdom from where he has never lost in the last 20 years.

The JMM has fielded Krishna Gagrai. Krishna, who was earlier with the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) shifted to the JMM before a brief stint at Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM).

“While no one doubts Munda will sail through, his chances of becoming the chief minister are bleak, as he has already been given that opportunity thrice. The present
BJP high command may spring a surprise this time as it happened in Maharashtra and Haryana, and may appoint a non-tribal as the Chief Minister,” said Nawal Kishore, a
social scientist based in the steel city, dropping ample hints that the BJP nominee from neighbouring Jamshedpur East, Raghuvar Das,
could emerge as the surprise choice.

The 59-year-old Das has represented Jamshedpur East four times (1995, 2000, 2005 and 2009) and even served as deputy chief minister in the Arjun Munda government.
In the good books of Modi and Shah, Das is presently the BJP national vice-president and
remains an undeclared rival of Munda for the top job in the state.
DH News Service

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