Former chief minister Arjun Munda takes stock of vote count at his Ranchi residence on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Nothing could wipe off the ear-to-ear smile from Arjun Munda’s face as he received congratulatory messages on phone one after the other.
This was the moment the BJP’s No. 1 campaigner and poll manager in Jharkhand had been waiting for — rich rewards for all his hard work, toil and sacrifices as his party went on to win 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats at the end of counting on Friday.
Munda, who had declined to contest from the Jamshedpur seat, more than made up by offering to take care of poll management.
And some management he did, almost playing an autocrat’s role in selection of candidates for certain constituencies.
Much to the chagrin of many party leaders, he not only inducted former JMM MLAs Bidyut Baran Mahto and Hemlal Murmu into BJP but also granted them tickets to contest the Jamshedpur and Rajmahal seats, respectively.
Former DGP V.D. Ram and MLA Laxman Gilua were also his choices for Palamau and Singhbhum, respectively.
And now, when most of his handpicked nominees have emerged winners, he stands vindicated.
“It is a victory for every BJP worker and common voter. The results have clearly showed that people are fed up with politics of opportunism. People across the country are looking to the BJP and Narendra Modi with great expectations. Jharkhand too is no exception,” he told The Telegraph, his eyes glued to TV at the state party headquarters in Harmu, Ranchi.
The former chief minister is all the more jubilant because BJP candidates had performed well in all four constituencies of Bengal, where he had campaigned.
But he is in no hurry to go to Delhi to grab a share of the limelight or seek the blessings of his party superiors or
“Our party president Rajnath Singh had expressed great faith in me. I tried my best to live up to his expectations,” he added.
On future plans, he said soon after the Narendra Modi government was formed at the Centre and allotment of Cabinet berths was complete, party leaders in Jharkhand would gather to discuss their strategies.
The BJP will not make any move to topple the Congress-JMM-RJD government in Jharkhand. But if the coalition arrangement fails to hold its own, the BJP would definitely step in.
“The Lok Sabha election results also indicate that people in Jharkhand have rejected Congress, JMM, RJD and their so-called secular allies. We will soon form a majority government on our own,” he signed off.