There’s a party-pooper lurking in Jharkhand — for the Bharatiya Janata Party. Jharkhand’s first chief minister and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) chief Babulal Marandi has approached his old foe Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren with offers to keep the BJP away. The offers came even as BJP stalwarts Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar were brainstorming in Ranchi to finalise the name of the new chief minister.
Marandi, it seems, has to settle a score with the BJP.
Beginning his career as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh pracharak, Marandi became the BJP state unit chief and in 2000, became chief minister. But he had to make way for Arjun Munda in 2002 under pressure from alliance partner Janata Dal (United). Gradually, Marandi and the BJP drifted apart. And distance bred contempt.
With 11 legislators in the House of 82, Marandi offered support from outside if Soren struck a deal with the Congress. “We are even ready help JMM come out of the mess created by the BJP’s lust for power,” he said.
He also offered a coalition of likeminded parties like the JMM, the Congress and the JVM(P), which have a total of 43 seats. Already causing a few raised eyebrows by offering any of his party’s existing seats for Soren’s election, Marandi proposed that portfolios in the government could be shared according to the parties’ respective strength in the House.
The offers come in the wake of Marnadi’s recent assertion that he had no interest in the chief minister’s chair if the three parties joined hands.