M A I N   N E W S

Munda, 5 others sworn in
To seek trust vote tomorrow

BJP President L.K. Advani, along with party leaders Yaswant Sinha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, S.S. Ahluwalia and Arjun Munda, after his arrival in Ranchi on Saturday.
BJP President L.K. Advani, along with party leaders Yaswant Sinha, Ravi Shankar Prasad, S.S. Ahluwalia and Arjun Munda, after his arrival in Ranchi on Saturday. — PTI

Ranchi, March 12
The BJP-led NDA today returned to power in Jharkhand when Mr Arjun Munda was sworn in as Chief Minister along with five Independents whose support is crucial for his government, capping 10 days of high-voltage political drama that saw the unceremonious exit of the Shibu Soren-led UPA government.

Interestingly, Chief Secretary P.P. Sharma announced the name of Mr Kamlesh Kumar Singh, an NCP MLA who was a minister in the Shibu Soren government, among those scheduled to take the oath. Mr Kamlesh Singh, however, did not turn up.

This is the second time the 37-year old Munda, a graduate in social science, has become Chief Minister since the state was carved out of Bihar in 2001. His party colleague Babulal Marandi was the first Chief Minister.

The Independents, who were made ministers, are Sudesh Mahato, Madhu Kora, Enos Ekka, Hari Narain Rai and Chandra Prakash Chaudhary. Rai had contested and won the Assembly elections as a rebel.

Governor Syed Sibtey Razi administered them the oath of office and secrecy at a public function attended among others by BJP President L.K. Advani, NDA convener George Fernandes, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh and BJP leader Rajnath Singh.

Senior BJP MLA Saryu Rai later told newsmen that Kamlesh Singh could not make it to the oath-taking ceremony as he was in hospital.

Mr Kamlesh Singh was included in the list of ministers to show that the NDA had the support of 42 MLAs, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Munda will seek the vote of confidence on March 14. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister today.

The cabinet also decided to appoint former Union Minister Koria Munda as the protem Speaker. The Speaker’s election would be held in the first half of the Assembly on March 14.

Filing of nomination papers for the post of Speaker will begin tomorrow, according to an official spokesman.

It further decided to nominate the Anglo-Indian member of the Assembly after the vote of confidence, he said.

Earlier, the mood at the Morabadi ground, half a kilometer from Raj Bhavan, where the swearing in took place, was one of jubilation as the impressive crowd cheered and greeted the NDA leaders as and when they arrived.

A section of the spectators, however, shouted at the Governor, as he entered the podium.

The shouting continued well into the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of the function.

Before climbing the stage, set up in just over four hours, Mr Munda went up to Mr Advani and sought his blessings. He also exchanged greetings with other leaders.

Former Chief Minister and BJP National Vice-President Babulal Marandi also arrived on the scene amid cheering and slogan-shouting by supporters. After the oath-taking, the Chief Minister, wearing a pleasant smile, shook hands with the Governor. — UNI, PTI


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