Arjun Munda is an Indian politician, Member of the Parliament (MP), philanthropist, and a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He is known for serving as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand three times. He hit the headlines in December 2023 after the Government of India gave him the charge of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
Arjun Munda was born on Friday, 3 May 1968 (age 55 years; as of 2023) in Jamshedpur, East Singhbhum, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), India. His zodiac sign is Taurus. Munda did his 10th standard in the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB). He went on to complete his schooling at a local school in Jamshedpur, Bihar. Thereafter, he enrolled at Ranchi University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. Thereafter, he pursued a post-graduate diploma in social science at the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU); he earned the degree in 1994. However, some sources claim that he did a Bachelor in Professional Program (BPP) at IGNOU. MyNeta In an interview, Munda revealed that since he came from a family with a poor financial standing, he had to struggle a lot to complete his formal education. He also said, in an interview, that he had to take up odd jobs to finance his education and support his family. While studying at Ranchi University, Munda joined the All Jharkhand Students Union. It was during his time in the student union that he got involved with the movement that demanded the separation of Jharkhand from Bihar.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Family & Caste
Arjun Munda belongs to a middle-class Hindu Scheduled Tribe family in Jharkhand.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Ganesh Munda. He passed away when Arjun was a kid. After the passing of his father, his mother, Saira Munda, took up a job as a labourer and worked in the field to make ends meet. He has an elder brother named Bhim Singh Munda, who is a politician and a social activist. In July 2023, Bhim was elected as the district president of Saraikela, Jharkhand. He has two sisters, Siban Solanki, who passed away in 2020, and Dakshini Solanki.
Wife & Children
His wife, Meera Munda, is a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician and a researcher on tribal affairs. She has held the position of the vice president of the Jharkhand state committee of BJP. Arjun got married to Meera on 13 March 1993.
The couple has three sons, Abhishek Singh Munda, Avinash Singh Munda, and Abhinav Singh Munda. His son, Abhishek Singh Munda, is a doctor.
Arjun Munda follows Hinduism. He is an ardent follower of Goddess Durga.
He resides at House No. 64-A, Khelarisai, P.O. Kharsawan, Distt. Seraikela Kharsawan-833216, Jharkhand, India.
Legislative Assembly of Bihar
After completing his formal education, Arjun Munda became a member of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and contested the 1995 Bihar Legislative Assembly polls from the Kharasawan (ST) constituency and emerged victorious. In 1998, Munda left the membership of the JMM and became a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He, however, managed to retain his seat till 2000. On BJP’s ticket, he contested and won the 2000 Bihar Vidhan Sabha elections from the Kharasawan (ST) constituency.
Legislative Assembly of Jharkhand
Following the separation of Jharkhand from Bihar in 2000, Arjun Munda contested the first-ever elections in Jharkhand from the Kharasawan (ST) constituency on BJP’s ticket and won. He was later appointed as the first Minister of Tribal Affairs of Jharkhand.
He is credited with devising policies which led to the improvement in the standard of living of the marginalised tribal population. In 2003, Munda succeeded Babulal Marandi as the second Chief Minister of Jharkhand. According to sources, Marandi was forced to resign from his post after the other coalition parties began pressuring the BJP to appoint Munda as the CM instead of Marandi. Munda, after taking over the office of the CM, worked on easing the tension created in the state due to Marandi’s implementation of the Jharkhand Domicile Act. According to the act, any person living in Jharkhand, whose ancestors’ names were not found in the 1932 land survey, was considered a non-native of the state. Munda’s tenure as the Chief Minister ended on 2 March 2005.
He contested and won the state assembly elections in 2005 from the same constituency on BJP’s ticket. On 12 March 2005, Munda was appointed as the CM of the state for the second time; he served in the post till 19 September 2006. He was appointed as the leader of the opposition in 2006. He remained in the post till 2008. In 2011, Arjun Munda contested the Jharkhand by-elections from the Kharasawan (ST) constituency and emerged victorious over his nearest rival Dasrath Gagrai, a Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantric) candidate, by a margin of more than 17,000 votes. He was later appointed as the Chief Minister for the third time. He served in the post till 18 January 2013. As the CM, he also held the excise portfolio.
Work As The Chief Minister of Jharkhand
Arjun Munda, as a Chief Minister, has been credited with the formulation and implementation of numerous policies, which have led to the development of Jharkhand. He played a crucial role in the appointment of Jharkhand’s first Lokayukta. Under his leadership, the government conducted the first-ever gram panchayat elections in the state. He was instrumental in allocating powers to the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), which led to an improvement in local self-governance. He talked about it, in an interview, and said,
Under the Governor’s Rule, there was no accountability of the government at any level. The Assembly was kept under suspended animation, there was no local body or panchayat, where the people could go and complain about their problems and get them resolved. There was a complete vacuum and lack of accountable government authorities at all the levels in the state.”
The introduction of an electronic tendering system in government contracts by his administration aimed to enhance transparency and efficiency while ensuring equal opportunities in the procurement process. To improve the electricity supply in the state, the Jharkhand government established numerous zones, where private and public enterprises were established to produce electricity. He also implemented several schemes which were adopted by many other states owing to their positive impact on the residents of Jharkhand.
Notable Welfare Schemes
- Kanyadan Yojana: The main aim of this scheme is to provide monetary assistance in the marriage of girls belonging to families living below the poverty line.
- Mukhya Mantri Ladli Laxmi Yojana: This scheme was implemented to provide financial aid for the education and welfare of girls belonging to the families below the poverty line as well as the families earning not more than Rs. 72,000 per annum.
- Aapka-cm: This system for managing grievances was created to facilitate direct communication between individuals and their Chief Minister, allowing them to express their concerns to the state leadership for timely attention and resolution.
- Mukhya Mantri Dal Bhat Yojna: This scheme was implemented by the government to provide access to nutritional food to those living below the poverty lines. Under this scheme, the government established many kitchens in public areas such as railway stations, bus stands, and government hospitals, where they provided meals to the needy for just Rs. 5.
- Yuwa Kaushal Vikas Scheme: Under this scheme, the government distributed laptops and tablets to the students who have passed their class 12 examinations. This scheme aimed to prepare the students to adapt to the technological changes in the world.
- Van Dhan Yojana: Munda is considered to be one of the driving factors behind the implementation of this scheme. This scheme aimed at promoting the welfare of the tribal population in Jharkhand by providing education and employment opportunities.
Arjun Munda contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections from the Jamshedpur constituency on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ticket. In the elections, he got 1,19,663 votes more than his nearest Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) candidate, Suman Mahato. In the same year, he was appointed as a member of the Standing Committee on Energy. He was later appointed as a member of the Consultative Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment.
Munda, however, resigned from the membership of the parliament after he won the 2011 bye-elections in Jharkhand and was appointed as the Chief Minister of Jharkhand. He was once again elected to the Lok Sabha in 2019 from the Khunti constituency. In the elections, he emerged victorious over his nearest rival Kali Charan Munda, an Indian National Congress (INC) candidate, by securing 3,82,638 votes. On 30 May 2019, Munda was sworn in as the Minister of Tribal Affairs. On 7 December 2023, he was appointed as the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
Controversy Surrounding His Tribal Status
In 2011, a CPI(ML) candidate named Bahadur Oraon lodged a complaint against Munda with the Returning Officer (RO) during the Jharkhand Legislative Assembly’s bye-election. In his complaint, Oraon claimed that Arjun Munda was falsely contesting from the constituency reserved for the Scheduled Tribes candidates as he belonged to the OBC category and not ST. He also claimed that he had all the relevant documents to support his claims. In his complaint, he wrote,
Munda is a Tamaria, which was considered a backward category till 2002. After he became the chief minister the same year, he got Tamaria enlisted in the ST category. He did not face much difficulty as the BJP-led NDA government was at the helm of affairs at the Centre then.” The Tribune
However, Munda, in his defence, said that it was the work of the opposition parties to reduce his credibility among the tribal voters. He also called the allegations false and baseless. While giving an interview, Arjun claimed,
They (the opposition) are free to put forward their version. But the allegation is baseless. The issue is being wrecked up ahead of the poll with the sole motive of driving political mileage by confusing the tribals.” The Economic Times
- Maruti Suzuki Zen
- Ford Ikon
- Mahindra Bolero
In 2022, Arjun Munda’s salary as a member of the parliament was around Rs. 2 lacs + other allowances. Zee News In the financial year 2017-2018, his income was estimated to be Rs. 14,59,348. MyNeta
Assets & Properties
- Cash: Rs. 2,94,347
- Deposits in Banks, Financial Institutions, and Non-Banking Financial Companies: Rs. 83,45,524
- Bonds, Debentures, and Shares in companies: Rs. 17,00,000
- LIC or other insurance Policies: Rs. 12,50,000
- Motor Vehicles: Rs. 12,69,200
- Jewellery: Rs. 1,11,450
- Other Assets: Rs. 59,880
- Residential Buildings: Rs. 35,00,000
- In 2021, under Arjun Munda’s leadership, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs received the SKOCH Challenger Award at the Virtual SKOCH Summit.
- Arjun Munda likes to exercise daily. In an interview, he said that he prefers doing yoga and going on a jog to remain. When asked about the motivation to remain in shape, he replied that the modern-day voters preferred lean and fit politicians over unhealthy ones.
- He loves playing golf, and his favourite golf course is the Golmuri golf course located in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand.
- In his leisure time, Munda loves listening to music, reading books, and painting.
- He is the author of a book titled Sadan Mein Samvaad.
- He also knows how to play the flute and other tribal musical instruments.
- Arjun Munda is fluent in languages including English, Hindi, Bengali, Odia, Jharkhandi, Santhali, Mundari, Ho, and Oraon.
- Apart from politics, Arjun is also involved in social activism. He has supported the rights of the tribal people living not only in Jharkhand but also in the adjoining states, i.e., Bihar, Odisha, and Chattisgarh.
- Arjun Munda takes a keen interest in archery. In May 2019, he replaced Vijay Kumar Malhotra as the President of the Archery Association of India (AAI).
- He played a crucial role in establishing the Jharkhand Cricket Association following the separation of Jharkhand from Bihar in 2002.
- In 2008, while returning from a political rally, Munda’s car in which he was travelling caught fire.
- In 2011, he was admitted to the Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur after he complained of uneasiness.
- In May 2012, he, along with his wife Meera, was hospitalised following a chopper crash in Jharkhand.
- In the same year, he along with his two sons, Abhinav, and Avinash, went to the United States of America for the treatment of his sons’ blood disease. According to sources, the expenses of their treatment, accommodation, and conveyance were covered by the Government of Jharkhand, which allocated approximately Rs. 70 lakh for it.
- In 2023, there were reports of a bird flu outbreak in Ranchi, Jharkhand. It was stated by sources that the flu originated from the residence of Arjun Munda. It is believed that several poultry hens that he had kept in the backyard of his house died due to the flu.
- He is an avid traveller and has been to numerous countries including France, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
- In 2023, he was appointed as one of the members of the G20 working group.