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Raghubar slams Munda

Ranchi, Jan. 7: Senior BJP leader Arjun Munda’s decision to not contest the Lok Sabha elections has drawn a sharp, if not predictable, reaction from bęte noire Raghubar Das, who has long been challenging the former chief minister’s “stranglehold” on the state unit.

Munda has triggered fresh rumblings within the party through his statement in Jamshedpur yesterday, dropping hints that his interest lay in state politics.

He will continue to play an important role in the party’s decision making at the Centre during the parliamentary elections with his feet firmly grounded in Jharkhand.

Munda’s public announcement, understandably, hasn’t been taken well by rivals Das and Co.

“Uncalled for and untimely,” said Das, adding, “I am not sure if he said it with prior approval of the central leadership.”

Asked if he would also make an announcement, Das said, “I will explain my views to the party leadership, if asked.”

Insiders claimed Munda would never allow anyone in the state unit to rise to his stature. He is aware that his rivals are eyeing his position and if he takes a plunge in national politics, it will make things easier for them.

But, a senior party leader disapproved of the move. “It will send a wrong signal to partymen that he is either scared of fighting polls or interested in his own gains,” he added.

State BJP chief Ravindra Rai, however, backed Munda.

“He discussed the matter with me around a month ago. He has given an option to the leadership and wants to devote time to election campaigns. If the party asks, he will contest,” said Rai, who is known for his close ties with Munda.