Simplicity gets a back seat in Modi regime
Posted June 5, 2014on:
Karia Munda, 78, is a tribal, simple man, firmly rooted in what the Sangh Parivar likes to describe as ‘Bharat’ as contrasted to ‘India’. He has contributed immensely to the BJP’s acceptability among the tribals of what was then south Bihar and is now Jharkhand. He was first elected to Lok Sabha from Khunti constituency (near Ranchi) in 1977 and has since been a member of Lok Sabha except for a couple of terms when he was elected to Bihar/Jharkhand State Assembly.
He was a Minister of State in Morarji Desai’s Janata Party government formed in 1977. He held important portfolios with the Cabinet rank in the Atal Behari Vajpayee’s government. Besides, he headed or was a member of several parliamentary committees, in addition to holding important positions in the party organisation.
During the UPA-II government which was formed in 2009, Munda became Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha and the BJP appeared to be quite satisfied with his performance.
However, with the thumping majority in Lok Sabha at its command, BJP preferred a high profile upper caste person to an agriculture-loving tribal for the post of Speaker of Lok Sabha. Nor did he get a place in the new Council of Ministers. Lobbying and bootlicking is not in Munda’s nature. I cannot claim a close acquaintance with him but have seen his life-style during my posting in Ranchi.
Whether as a Member of Parliament or a Minister in the Union Government or, later, Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, Munda always kept himself away from the corridors of power which have virtually become the corridors of corruption. He still lives in a mud hut in his village Anigara.
Can you imagine how he spends his time when he is not attending to his parliamentary or ministerial duties in Delhi? He goes back to his village, ploughs the fields and clears the weeds and shrubs. Also attends to the problems of the people in his constituency. His assets (according to his poll affidavits) were worth Rs 59 lakh in 2009, which increased to Rs 75 lakh in 2014. He never had guards at his Anigara house.