Wasn’t easy to persuade him: Shah after Marandi’s JVM(P) merges with BJP
Former Chief Minister of Jharkhand and JVM(P) president Babulal Marandi on Monday merged his party with the Bharatiya Janata Party. The merger took place in the state’s capital city of Ranchi in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The development comes less than two months after the results to the Jharkhand Assembly elections were declared. The verdict saw BJP finish a distant second with 25 seats while Marandi’s JVM(P) ended with three.
Welcoming Marandi back into the BJP fold, Shah said that he has been trying to do so ever since he was appointed as the president of the BJP. “I have been trying to bring Babulal Marandi into BJP since I was made BJP chief in 2014. Someone rightly said that he is quite stubborn. We couldn’t persuade him easily. He has now joined BJP as per the wish of the people of Jharkhand,” he said.
The merger took place months after the party was dethroned by the grand alliance comprising JVM, Congress and RJD. In the Assembly elections held in December last year, the BJP won 25 seats while the JVM(P) pocketed three seats. The grand alliance secured 47 seats.
Top BJP leaders including its CM Raghubar Das, state BJP chief Laxman Gilua even lost elections. Although the BJP won 10 per cent of the Assembly’s strength and thus securing the Leader of Opposition post, the party lacked a powerful leader to lead the party in the Legislative Assembly.
Babulal Marandi won the elections from Dhanwar Assembly seat. He is likely to be appointed as the Leader of the Opposition.
Marandi served as the first CM of Jharkhand between November 2000 and March 2003. He was then in the BJP. Marandi parted ways with the BJP in 2006 and floated his own political party Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik).
Speaking on the occasion, Marandi said that the saffron was in touch with him since 2014. “BJP had contacted me after the Lok Sabha elections and assembly elections in 2014. Right from the beginning, BJP wanted us to merge with them,” he said.