Jharkhand's Babulal Marandi Returns To BJP, Official Merger On February 17

Babulal Marandi will be the lone legislator of the party after doors were shown to the two others for anti-party activities.

Jharkhand's Babulal Marandi Returns To BJP, Official Merger On February 17

Babulal Marandi was the first chief minister of Jharkhand (File)


Fourteen years after he snapped relations with the BJP, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi on Tuesday announced his "wapsi" (return) to the party.

Mr Marandi declared that his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) will merge with the BJP with immediate effect.

"A formal merger ceremony will take place on February 17 at Jagannathpur Maidan, which is also known as Prabhat Tara Maidan, in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president JP Nadda and BJP vice-president Om Prakash Mathur," Mr Marandi told reporters.

Office-bearers of the party, district presidents and members of the executive committee were present in the JVM(P) meeting when the merger proposal was unanimously passed and approved, he said.

Mr Marandi will be the lone legislator of the party after doors were shown to the two others, who had rebelled against the party.

BJP has 25 MLAs presently in the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly. It lost power to opposition alliance of JMM-Congress-RJD in the state polls in the end of last year.

The merger announcement ended speculations about Mr Marandi's return to the BJP.

The move was triggered by the fact that even after the lapse of over two months of elections, the BJP has yet not appointed its legislature party leader, apparently in the hope of Mr Marandi's return

"In all, five proposals were unanimously approved by the committees. Two of the important proposals are merger of JVM(P) legislature party with the BJP legislature party and JVM(P)'s merger with the BJP (in that order)," Mr Marandi said while briefing about the meeting.

"The other three proposals are, ratifying the expulsions of party MLAs Bandhu Tirkey on January 21 and Pradip Yadav on February 6 and disposal of the party's assets as per legal provisions," Mr Marandi said, adding all decisions were taken as per the party's constitution.

Mr Tirkey was expelled on the ground of anti-party activities in the run-up to the assembly polls while Mr Yadav was expelled after he met AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi besides attending the Congress-sponsored anti-CAA meeting in the Godda district, evincing interest to join the grand old party and criticising Mr Marandi.

To a query about him quitting the party 14 years ago, Mr Marandi evasively answered "differences do happen even at home".

Asked what role he expected upon merging with the BJP, he said, "Whatever."

BJP hailed Mr Marandi's merger decision.

In a statement, state BJP president Laxman Gilua said, "The BJP welcomes the proposals of JVM(P)'s president Babulal Marandi, which were passed by its executive committee meeting."

A host of senior BJP leaders like state unit vice-presidents Hemlal Murmu, Aditya Sahu, Pradip Verma, Samir Oraon, Priya Singh, Pranav Verma, and general secretary Dipak Prakash greeted Mr Marandi's decision.

Beginning his career as a teacher before joining BJP and going on to become a junior minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, Mr Marandi was chosen by the BJP to become the first chief minister of the newly created Jharkhand on November 15, 2000.

After forming his new party, Mr Marandi had won an assembly election for the first time in the November-December 2019 polls.

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