Arjun Munda at his official residence in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Jan. 11: Arjun Munda has questioned the JMM’s motive behind withdrawing support to the BJP-led government, claiming the demands placed by the regional party before splitting away from the coalition were contradictory.
Reiterating his demand for fresh elections to ensure political stability, the caretaker chief minister today also hinted that the JMM’s move riled him because it upset his fight for the state’s growth.
“I gave written replies to the JMM’s charter of demands. They pulled down my government apparently because they were not satisfied with my answers. Now, it is for them to clarify whether they will be going ahead with the same agenda or it was merely aimed at causing political instability. I am ready for open debate,” Munda thundered at a newsmeet.
For the first time since resigning his post of chief minister, Munda argued that the JMM’s demands — the most contentious and fateful being the question of sharing power with the BJP by rotation — were contradictory.
On the one hand, the JMM asked for strict execution of Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act, while on the other it advocated release of grants-in-aid to madarsas.
A majority of the madarsas in question is based in Santhal Pargana.
“According to rules, the madarsas should also have sizeable plots and other necessary amenities to secure financial assistance from the government. If the strict provisions of SPT Act hinder transfer of lands to madarsas, how will they get financial support from the government?” Munda said.
He also pointed out that the JMM started its bid to topple his government in Ranchi last month while he was busy pleading with the Centre to grant special status to Jharkhand at the National Development Council meeting in Delhi.
Munda promised to continue to press for special status.
He also advocated sharing of Jharkhand’s assets and liabilities with Bihar in tune with rules prevalent in peer states Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand.
He argued that Jharkhand’s economy was being assessed on the basis of its mineral reserves, but poverty was most visible in mining zones. Education, agriculture, health and skill development also needed attention, he added.
“Let the state’s interests not be set aside for political gains. This is the first year of the twelfth five-year plan period, which is very crucial. What the state will be gaining ultimately through the twelfth plan will fully depend upon the priorities that we set now,” he added.
He also claimed that as a result of two years of hard work by his government, Jharkhand was ranked first in pulse production.
Strict execution of various schemes in infrastructure and social welfare sectors, in particular, has started yielding results, he said, urging his successor to carry forward the projects forward.