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First Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi rejoins BJP after 14 years, may get key post

Marandi also merged his JVM-P with the BJP, which he quit in 2006 to form his own party, at a function held in Ranchi.

Updated: Feb 17, 2020 21:55 IST

By Bedanti Saran, Hindustan Times Ranchi

Former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi greets Union Minister Amit Shah during the merger of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), at an event, in Ranchi. (PTI)

Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) chief and the state’s first chief minister Babulal Marandi on Monday rejoined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after more than a decade as Union home minister Amit Shah hinted of giving him a fitting role.

Marandi also merged his JVM-P with the BJP, which he quit in 2006 to form his own party, at a function held in Ranchi.

Besides Amit Shah, the BJP’s national vice-president Om Prakash Mathur, Union tribal minister Arjun Munda and many other senior leaders were present to welcome back the 62-year-old former RSS leader and Dhanwar legislator.

“In the last 14 years, I had made extensive tours (about 6-7 lakh kilometres) across the state. I have felt the problem of this state and its people. I am grateful to those who had supported me in my difficult times,” Marandi said.



He added, “What I am today is because of the BJP. I have never demanded any post or position in 30 years of my political career. I want to assure it again that I would happily take whatever responsibility entrusted on me even if it would be the job of a sweeper.”

Addressing the gathering, Shah said he had been trying to bring Marandi back to the BJP fold soon after he became the party’s president in 2014.

“The BJP has got another experienced leader in the state and it will immensely bolster the party’s prospects. I assure that Marandi and all JVM-P workers and supporters would be given equal respect in the BJP,” Shah said

“The party always treated Marandi as its own leader. Marandi will be given fitting responsibility in the times to come,” he added.

BJP insiders said that Marandi could be elevated as the leader of the opposition.

Marandi’s homecoming to the BJP comes at a time when the party, after its defeat in the Jharkhand assembly polls, is looking for a tribal face to restore its support among tribal communities, which was badly eroded during Raghubar Das’ regime.

“It has been felt that Marandi should be wooed and brought back into the saffron fold to revive the party’s prospect among the tribal populace,” a senior BJP leader said.

Marandi, too, is looking for a better political future as his party’s performance has been continuously declining. The JVM-P had won 11, 8 and 3 assembly seats in the 2009, 2014 and 2019 elections respectively.

Indications of a possible merger of the JVM-P with the BJP came last month when Marandi while restructuring his party, didn’t include two of his legislators—Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey—in the newly-formed executive committee.

Stepping further, Marandi also showed doors to Yadav and Tirkey for carrying out anti-party activities.

Jharkhand Congress spokesperson Alok Dubey said the development has shown the “real face” of Marandi.

“This is the third time Marandi is merging with the BJP. His MLAs went to the BJP in 2009 and 2014 as well. He has always been helping the BJP. It is his real face of Marandi,’ said Dubey.

Within hours, Yadav and Tirkey joined the Congress in New Delhi, claiming they were the ‘real JVM-P’. The legislators’ move is likely to give rise to a legal wrangle in future.

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