The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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House din over Munda roots

Ranchi, Aug. 3: The Opposition today found a new gun to fire at the ruling NDA in the House. It raised a storm over the issue of chief minister Arjun Munda’s election from a seat reserved for the Scheduled Tribes despite hailing from the backward caste and “concealing his conviction” by a court of law.

Chaos erupted when the Opposition demanded adjournment over Munda’s alleged “non-tribal” origin.

Even before the House assembled for the day, the JMM, Congress, RJD and CPI-ML members chanted slogans like “Jaali CM ko giraftar karo, convicted CM ko barkhast karo (arrest the fake CM, dismiss the convicted CM)” near the door of the Speaker’s chamber.

As the House met, the entire Opposition was on its feet demanding that the Speaker accept their adjournment demand over what they described as an “extremely emotive issue”.

The Speaker adjourned the House at 11. 15 am for half-an- hour. However, after re-assembling, the House witnessed yet another bout of pandemonium when Opposition members led by the new leader Hussein Ansari demanded Munda’s arrest.

Later, speaking on behalf of the Opposition, CPI(M-) member Mahendra Prasad Singh said Arjun Munda belonged to Patar sub-group of the Tamaria caste, which was in the backward caste (annexture-1) category till 2002. “Only in 2002, the Centre notified Tamaria as a Scheduled Tribe,” Singh said, showing the Union government’s gazette notification of 2002.

Singh and Congress member Niel Tirki argued that Munda had contested the 1995 and 2000 polls from the Kharsawan seat reserved for Scheduled Tribes.

Besides, Munda was convicted in a case(no: 90/88) for violating Section 144 by a court of law and he “concealed the fact” at the time of filing his nomination in 2000, the Opposition members said.

Asked whether he belonged to the backward caste till 2002, Munda deftly skirted the query. “You should find about my caste before posing the question and the Opposition too should know the facts before raising the issue,” the chief minister said.

Before leaving the House, the chief minister described the Opposition’s clamour for the adjournment motion as a “well-calculated conspiracy” to stall the proceedings.

“The Opposition members do not want the House to discuss people’s problems and carry on business as usual,” he said.

About his “conviction”, Munda clarified: “I did violate Section 144 for the people’s cause and the Court punished me by imposing a nominal fine. But it is nothing abnormal for most of political workers violate Section 144 to draw the government’s attention to people-related issues.”

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MP from Giridih Tekalal Mahto today hinted that his party will launch an in the state to protest Shibu Soren’s arrest.

He was talking to reporters at Nagwa, about 6km from Giridih.

Mahto said he had full faith in judiciary but not on the BJP leaders, who were conspiring against Soren. He said that party will go into people’s court to expose the “real” face of BJP.

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