The JVM(P) of former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi merged with the BJP on Monday, giving stimulus to the saffron party smarting from defeat in the November-December 2019 state assembly polls.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, credited with BJP’s phenomenal expansion as its president, was present at a well-attended public rally where he welcomed Marandi, a respectable tribal leader and the first chief minister of Jharkhand, back into the saffron party.
Shah also assured the tribal leader that he will get due respect and responsibility in the BJP. “I am delighted that Babulal Marandi has returned to BJP. I was working for his return since 2014 when I became the party president,” Shah told the gathering that cheered lustily.
Shah said after quitting the BJP over “personal and organisational” issues in 2006, Marandi became “a ‘ghumantu’ (wandering) leader, sharing the sorrow and happiness of the people of Jharkhand, setting an example of how to be among people without power, too”.
“Today, he is back with lotus (BJP’s election symbol) in hand. The BJP will now grow further in strength,” he said. Referring to the defeat in the assembly election, the home minister said, “Electoral win or loss is not BJP’s goal.
Its goal is the progress of the state. We worked hard when in power, we will work harder in the opposition. We will fight corruption, terrorism and naxalism with even greater vigour.”
Marandi’s to the BJP was not sudden and that leaders of the saffron party had been trying to persuade him to return since the time he floated the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) in 2006.
The JVM(P) had won three seats in the 2019 assembly polls. Marandi, who also won, later sacked two MLAs-Pradip Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey- for hobnobbing with the Congress.
The JMM-Congress-RJD alliance had won 47 of the state’s 81 seats, while the then ruling BJP, which ploughed a lonely furrow, bagged 25.