Attempts by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to bring its erstwhile leader — former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi — back into the party fold ahead of the 2014 general election received a severe blow on Thursday with the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) chief saying that neither he would rejoin the BJP nor his party align with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). He asserted that he would work towards formation of a Third Front that will form a non-Congress, non-BJP government at the Centre next year.

Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Marandi, who led the BJP to form Jharkhand’s first government after division of Bihar in 2000, said with more and more States moving towards third alternative by shunning the BJP and the Congress, the chances of a Third Front government after elections were very high.

He asserted that JVM-P would emerge as a major party in the State bagging majority of the 14 Lok Sabha seats. Currently JVM-P has two MPs from the State.

“All like-minded parties have already started consultations…We will soon see a Third Front taking shape. As happened in 1998, we will see a new government at the Centre again. Regional parties are getting stronger and will garner sufficient numbers to form a government …I am optimistic about it. Now there are only a few States left where the BJP and Congress are in a direct contest…Soon we will see more regional parties emerging stronger,” said Mr. Marandi, who was in Delhi to attend the CPI-M initiated anti-communalism convention on Wednesday.

Rubbishing the BJP’s claims there was a “wave” in favour of party’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Mr. Marandi said neither the BJP nor the Congress was aware of the ground situation and were quarrelling over non-issues.

“Both parties are least bothered about rampant corruption and price-rise, neither they are talking about poor state of economy, health or education sectors…The war of words between Mr. Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is nothing but a sham,” he charged.