BJP finalising plan for ‘ghar wapsi’ of Marandi

BJP finalising plan for ‘ghar wapsi’ of Marandi

However, the BJP, which had to bite the dust after it ‘foisted’ a  non-tribal Raghubar Das as the Chief Minister in a tribal-dominated State in 2014, is now mulling over the idea to have a credible tribal face in Jharkhand where there are 28 per cent Scheduled Tribes. (Reuters photo)

The BJP, which lost Jharkhand Assembly election in December last, is seriously contemplating to bring back former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi into its fold. Marandi, who was Jharkhand’s first Chief Minister and the BJP’s most prominent tribal face in the State, left the saffron camp in 2006 and formed his own outfit Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM).

“Talks are in an advanced stage where a formula is being chalked out how to rehabilitate the JVM chief in the parent party,” a senior functionary in the saffron camp told Deccan Herald on Wednesday.

The JVM, which won three seats in the 81-member Assembly in December 2019, has, however, pledged its unconditional support to the Hemant Soren Government. Hemant, who enjoys the support of 50 MLAs in the House, met Marandi and sought his blessings before taking the oath.

However, the BJP, which had to bite the dust after it ‘foisted’ a  non-tribal Raghubar Das as the Chief Minister in a tribal-dominated State in 2014, is now mulling over the idea to have a credible tribal face in Jharkhand where there are 28 per cent Scheduled Tribes. The BJP’s other prominent tribal face – Arjun Munda, a three-term Jharkhand CM, is already a Union Minister and is not keen on returning to State politics. “I am happy as Union Tribal Affairs Minister as I get more opportunity to work for the upliftment of tribals throughout the country,” Munda told Deccan Herald.

Re-joining the BJP suits Marandi too. After all, his party has shrunk over the years and could face extinction if the reports of his other two MLAs planning to join Congress are true.

Though two of the JVM MLAs – Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirki - have vehemently denied that they were mulling over the proposal to join the grand old party, sources aware of the developments confirmed that back-channel talks with the Congress are on.

After deserting the BJP, Marandi contested the 2009 Assembly polls on his own. His party then won 11 seats. The JVM strength, however, came down to eight in 2014 Assembly polls. Out of these eight MLAs, six joined the BJP in December 2014. In 2019 polls, the JVM could, however, scrape through in three constituencies, including Dhanwar, from where Marandi won.

“It’s a win-win situation for both the BJP and Marandi. While the BJP will get a soft-spoken and suave tribal leader, Marandi will be back in his parent party and could possibly be the BJP Legislature Party (BJPLP) leader,” said the source.

No wonder, the BJP has deferred its plan to elect BJPLP leader, saying it will be done after Makar Sankranti when the auspicious period starts. Meanwhile, Marandi has dissolved the executive committee of the JVM adding grist to the rumour mill of JVM merging with the BJP.

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