If there ever was a competition to see who loves their mangoes the most, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda would perhaps win hands down, albeit with a little competition from his Bihar counterparts.
At Mr Munda's official residence in Ranchi, mangoes are not only being numbered, but also guarded by sentries to prevent anyone from plucking them. Anyone, except the former chief minister it seems.
Shambhu Mahto, caretaker at the official residence, told NDTV, "thought has gone into this and this is being done after proper orders. These are very expensive mangoes, and people try to pluck them off the road."
Last week, it emerged that the neighbouring Bihar government had posted four police inspectors at the official residence of chief minister, 1 Anne Marg in Patna. This is still occupied by former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, his party, Hindustan Awam Morcha alleged that policemen were posted to prevent Mr Manjhi from eating mangoes and litchis planted in the bungalow.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar had then added much drama to the story by saying the mangoes were government property, and he would pay from his pocket for any mangoes Mr Manjhi would want to eat. Both leaders were once friends, but are now political opponents.
Mr Munda seems to be taking inspiration from Mr Kumar, when he said, "I don't have any idea on the numbering, mango trees are in a government bungalow. The government can auction the mangoes. When I was chief minister, I used to auction litchi. The money was used for development."
Despite the explanations of these leaders, the aam aadmi of Bihar and Jharkhand may just be thinking of it, as being misplaced priorities.
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