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Arjun Munda To Take Oath On Saturday, To Prove Majority In 7 Days

Ranchi/New Delhi: Arjun Munda will be sworn in as Jharkand's new Chief Minister on Saturday at the head of a BJP-JMM coalition with the Governor inviting him to form a government today shortly after the
PTI September 09, 2010 21:41 IST
Ranchi/New Delhi: Arjun Munda will be sworn in as Jharkand's new Chief Minister on Saturday at the head of a BJP-JMM coalition with the Governor inviting him to form a government today shortly after the Union Cabinet recommended revocation of President's rule in the state.  

42-year-old BJP leader Munda, who is getting the chief ministership post for the third time, will be the eighth CM in 10 years since the mineral rich state was carved out of Bihar on November 15, 2000. No Chief Minister has ever completed a full term in the state.

Governor M O H Farooq invited the BJP's chief ministerial candidate to take oath on September 11 at 11:00 am, Raj Bhavan sources said in Ranchi, two days after Munda staked claim. The BJP and Shibu Soren's JMM came back together over three months after they parted ways leading to imposition of President's rule.  

Munda was asked to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly within seven days from the date of taking oath the sources said. The present Assembly, which was kept under suspended animation after imposition of Central rule over three months back, is the third and was constituted on December 30 last. The invitation by the Governor came after Munda called on him shortly after the Cabinet recommended revocation of President s rule.  

"The Cabinet has made appropriate recommendation to the President based on Governor's recommendation. You will have to wait for the President's decision," Home Minister P Chidambaram told reporters Iin New Delhi after a meeting of the Union Cabinet which took up the issue. Munda has claimed the support of 45 MLAs in the Assembly with an effective strength of 81.

In the list submitted by Munda to the Governor on Tuesday to back up claim he had majority support, there are 18 MLAs each of BJP and JMM, two from JDU, five from AJSU and two Independent MLAs -- Chamra Linda and Bidesh Singh.

Farooq had sent his report to the Centre on September 7 after Munda, the newly-elected BJP legislative party leader, staked claim to form the government, submitting a list of 45 MLAs in the 81-member house and parading 44 of them at the Raj Bhavan.

President's Rule was imposed in Jharkhand on June 1 with the Assembly being put under suspended animation after BJP withdrew support to the Shibu Soren-led government after the latter voted with the UPA during cut motions in Parliament and no party came forward to form an alternative government.

Congress, which has 14 MLAs and its ally JVMP 11, has not shown interest in forming government in the state owing to "trust deficit" with JMM.

Senior Congress leaders, on condition of anonymity, said the party realises that its mandate is to sit in the opposition there and it will continue to do so instead of "muddying" the political waters there. Babulal Marandi was the first chief minister before Munda took over from him. In between Madhu Koda held the post once and Soren thrice.

 Hattrick for Munda:  Arjun Munda, who joined the BJP twelve years ago after quitting the JMM, 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.

JMM leader Hemant Soren and AJSU president Sudesh Mahto are likely to become deputy chief ministers in the Arjun Munda government in Jharkhand, coalition sources said.  In that case, Soren and Mahto will take oath along with Munda on Saturday, they said.

During expansion of his ministry, Munda could allot three berths each from BJP and JMM, two for All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and one for the JDU, they said.

However, there would be no room for the two Independent MLAs who gave their signatures when Munda staked claim to form the government on Tuesday, they said.

"The BJP leadership is confident that Munda can face the challenges constructively, particularly after he succeeded in making the JMM agree unconditionally to support the government -- a task which the national leadership had a difficult time during April-May before deciding to withdraw support to the then Shibu Soren government," a senior BJP leader said. PTI