The Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha Prajatantrik (JVM(P)) is set to start the process of merging with the BJP, top sources in both the parties have confirmed.
This comes against the backdrop of the recently held Assembly election in which the BJP was voted out of power. With key BJP leaders facing defeat in the recently held Assembly elections, the party has been left without a leader in the House. It is also yet to appoint a Leader of the Opposition.
The merger move is also being seen as the BJP’s attempt to woo tribal voters after the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led alliance won 25 out of the 28 tribal seats in the state. The BJP won only two tribal seats — nine down from the last election. Among key party leaders who lost in the polls is incumbent state BJP chief and tribal face of the party Laxman Giluwa. He has submitted his resignation, but it is yet to be accepted.
Homecoming on cards
A merger of JVM(P) with the BJP would be homecoming for Marandi, a a former RSS man, a former state BJP president as well as the first Chief Minister of Jharkhand. Marandi floated JVM(P) in 2006 after parting ways with the BJP. In the 2009 state polls, JVM(P) won 10 seats and in 2014, it bagged eight. Six out of its eight MLAs moved to the BJP in 2015. JVM(P) contested the move, but Assembly Tribunal upheld it.
A close aide of JVM (P) chief Marandi said, “Both the BJP and JVM(P) are looking at their political interests. JVM(P) has dissolved its working committee and Babulal met BJP’s central leadership in Delhi on January 15.
The party will start the process of merging as soon as he returns to Ranchi.”
A general secretary of the state BJP unit said, “JVM(P) will merge with BJP. Talks are on regarding the process of the merger.”
Interestingly, the JVM(P) had offered unconditional support to the ruling JMM-Cong-RJD alliance after the election results. The party had contested all 81 seats, but won only three.