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BJP raises ‘kissing competition’ issue in Jharkhand Assembly

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The BJP on Wednesday raised in the Jharkhand Assembly the issue of some JMM legislators organising a “kissing competition” at a village fair, claiming that hosting such an event was an “insult” to women.

But the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) launched a counter- attack by raising land acquisition and domicile policy of the state government, forcing adjournment of the House twice, and subsequently for the day.

Chief Minister Raghubar Das was present in the House.

Two JMM MLAs – Simon Marandi and Stephen Marandi – have courted controversy by organising a “kissing competition” for tribal couples during a traditional village fair in Pakur district in Santhal pargana of Jharkhand on Sunday.

“It is an insult to women. Half of the population is women. JMM MLA says it is a tradition. Let there be a debate over it,” BJP’s chief whip Radhakrishna Kishore said after BJP MLAs Ram Kumar Pahan, Biranchi Narayan, Raj Sinha and other ruling party MLAs waved newspapers reporting the event soon after the House convened.

They resumed in their seats on the request of Speaker Dinesh Oraon.

However, slogan-shouting JMM MLAs trooped into the well of the House, protesting land acquisition and domicile policy of the Raghubar Das government, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House twice during the morning session.

With the chaos refusing to die, the Speaker adjourned the House for the day.

The “kissing competition” event has hogged the limelight for the past few days.

JMM president Shibu Soren served a show-cause notice on Tuesday to its MLA Simon Marandi following newspaper reports about the event at Jhumaria in his Littipara constituency in Pakur district on December 10.

Shibu Soren, a former chief minister of Jharkhand and JMM patriarch who hails from Santhal pargana region, directed the party MLA to reply in writing within seven days.

Wednesday was the second day of the winter session of the Jharkhand Assembly.

The BJP has made a scathing attack on its rivals over the event, demanding that the two MLAs be suspended from the assembly as they had “insulted” the local culture.

Simon Marandi, the organiser, has argued that the “kissing competition” was held to stop the increasing number of divorce in the tribal society.

Party MLA Stephen Marandi was also present at the fair.

A video of the “kissing competition” had gone viral on social media on Monday. In the video, tribal couples could be seen locked in a kiss while the crowd cheered.

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