Jharkhand ministers organise 'kissing competition' to reduce divorce rates; BJP calls it 'mockery of tribal culture'

A Jharkhand minister has courted controversy by organising a bizarre event at the state's Dumaria village on Sunday. Simon Marandi of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) had organised a "kissing competition", wherein tribal couples were asked to lock lips in the village, which falls in his Littipara constituency.

According to a report on India Today, Marandi said the event was being organised to "strengthen the bond" among married couples, and to reduce the divorce rate among the state's tribal community. Another MLA from the JMM, Stephen Marandi, was also present at the event, the report said.

Three couples were awarded prizes as part of the competition.

File image of Simon Marandi. Courtesy: CNN-News18

File image of Simon Marandi. Courtesy: CNN-News18

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Simon Marandi said, "The kissing competition was organised to promote love and modernity. Tribal people are hesitant. The hesitation of tribal couples will end by kissing openly in the competition."

He also said it would help in promoting understanding between couples and prevent divorces. The programme was attended by hundreds of people.

However, the BJP has reacted sharply to the news, and has demanded Marandi's ouster from the party.

"JMM MLAs Simon Marandi and Stephen Marandi have insulted the culture of Santhal Pargana in the by organising a 'kissing competition'. We demand their suspension from the House and not allowing them to attend the Winter Session starting from Tuesday," BJP's Hemlal Murmu was quoted as saying in the India Today report.

"What is the JMM trying to prove by organising such a competition? There are many ways that could be adopted to end the hesitation of the tribal people. Simon Marandi has tried to make a mockery of the tribal culture and tradition," Ramesh Pushkar, a senior BJP leader, was quoted as saying by IANS. "One JMM legislator has asked for opening a bar in the Assembly and another legislator is organising a kissing competition."

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2017 09:21:56 IST

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