The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 7 , 2014
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Munda answers NaMo call

- Ex-CM won’t contest but campaign across state

Jamshedpur/Ranchi, Jan. 6: Former chief minister and senior BJP leader Arjun Munda will not be contesting the coming Lok Sabha elections, indicating he would like to be the party’s backroom boy in the state with 14 Lok Sabha seats.

“I have decided not to contest the Lok Sabha elections. I will instead work for party nominees and ensure their victory,” said the three-time chief minister of Jharkhand during a brief interaction with mediapersons at the BJP office in Sakchi, Jamshedpur, this afternoon.

Party sources revealed that enthused by Narendra Modi’s massive rally in Ranchi on December 29, both party chief Rajnath Singh and the party’s prime ministerial nominee felt that winning all the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand was a possibility.

Hence they stressed on the need for efficient poll management and Munda is understood to have volunteered to take up the responsibility.

“The main challenge is now to win maximum number of Lok Sabha seats and facilitate the formation of a BJP-led government at the Centre. I want to help my party candidates,” he later told The Telegraph.

Those close to him admitted that Munda had taken this decision after careful consideration. In 2009, he may have won the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat with a record margin — he polled 3,19,630 votes against Suman Mahto’s 1,99,957 — but he could not ensure the victory of his party candidate in the by-election that followed his resignation in 2011.

His own election from Kharsawan was not that easy, too.

“Munda has taken this decision in the larger interest of the party. He is a very senior leader. He is very popular all over the state. He wants to devote adequate time to every parliamentary constituency during the coming elections, which may not be possible if he too contests from one of the seats,” argued state BJP president Ravindra Rai.