Blow to Marandi as 2 MLAs look set to join Congress
JVM(P) legislators Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi along with Congress’ Jharkhand in-charge RPN Singh to express their willingness to join the grand old party.Updated: Jan 24, 2020 01:13 IST
The legislature party of Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) is on the verge of a split after two of its three legislators met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.
JVM(P) legislators Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi along with Congress’ Jharkhand in-charge RPN Singh to express their willingness to join the grand old party.
The move came amid reports that Marandi, a former chief minister, is set to merge his party with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and that he will be appointed as its legislature party leader and the leader of the opposition as well. Marandi won the recently-concluded assembly elections from Dhanwar constituency.
A Congress leader familiar with the development said the two JVM(P) legislators were not keen to join the BJP and had been in touch with leaders of both the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Congress.
Soon after the Jharkhand results were out on December 23, Marandi had extended unconditional support to the JMM-Congress alliance.
With the joining of these two legislators, the Congress’ strength in the 81-member House will go up from 16 to 18. The JMM had won 30 seats while the BJP had bagged 25.
Chief minister Hemant Soren, who was set to expand his council of ministers on Friday, has now postponed the move. One of these two JVM(P) legislators is expected to be inducted in the cabinet.
Marandi had parted ways with the BJP in 2006 and the merger of the JVM(P) will be a homecoming for him.
The BJP, too, had been looking for a formidable tribal face in Jharkhand after its state chief Laxman Giluwa lost the assembly elections.