Former Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi may merge party with BJP

Former CM was earlier with it

Published - January 12, 2020 09:48 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Babulal Marandi. File photo: PTI

Babulal Marandi. File photo: PTI

Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das has been asked by senior BJP leaders to come to Delhi this week as talks for a merger of the Jhakhand Vikas Morcha (P), led by another former Chief Minister of the State, Babulal Marandi, with the party gain pace.

Senior BJP sources in Delhi and Ranchi have said that Mr. Marandi has been in talks with the party for the merger, and Mr. Das has been asked to give his input. Mr. Marandi had been in the BJP in the past and broke away after he felt he was being undermined.

“The loss in the Jharkhand polls is being assessed by the BJP and it was felt, especially by the on-ground RSS in the State, that Mr. Marandi, a former BJP leader, should be wooed and brought back into the party to restore some of its support base among tribal communities, which has been badly eroded under Mr. Das,” a senior BJP leader said.

Multiple reasons

The BJP feels that if Mr. Marandi had note fielded strong candidates in seven or eight constituencies in the Santhal-Kolhan belts and cut into the grand alliance votes, the party’s tally in the Assembly election could have been lower. Mr. Marandi had broken his Lok Sabha election alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress to go it alone in these polls.

“Mr. Marandi too is assessing his political future, with Hemant Soren having pulled off a big victory. He feels he needs a national party to go forward, as his tally came down from eight (in 2014) to three in 2019,” the BJP leader said.

The sabotage that happened within the BJP campaign, specifically in Mr. Das’s Jamshedpur (East) loss to rebel Saryu Rai, is another reason Mr. Marandi is being brought back.

“There are certain leaders who worked against the interests of the party in these polls, and combined with Raghubar Das’s unpopularity, the grand alliance managed a simple majority in the Assembly. We have to acknowledge that too,” a source said.

With the “inauspicious” khar maas ending with Makar Sankranti on January 14, a meeting of the party parliamentary board will be called soon after to take forward the merger, BJP leaders say.

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