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Friday 10 April 2020

Marandi on why it took 14 years to return to BJP: I was stubborn

'I haven't come back for a post. I'll work as an ordinary karyakarta. If the party gives me the job of a sweeper, I'll do it'

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After 14 years, former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi returned to the BJP. Union Home Minister Amit Shah was present on the occasion of his ghar wapsi — a meeting at the Prabhat Tara Maidan in Dhurwa, Ranchi. It has been known for a while that the first chief minister of the state would return to his original party.

While addressing this meeting, Marandi thanked Shah and all those present. He said that he had left home (BJP) in 2006, but it was not that BJP did not try to bring him back. “The BJP tried to bring me back to the party right since then. But I was stubborn. Sometimes it is difficult to convince oneself,” he said.

“Today I have come back, not because the BJP tried to bring me back after losing the election. This is the effort of so many years that I have returned home today,” Marandi said.

In his address, Marandi said, “I have come back to the party today, not for my attachment to any position. I will accept whatever responsibility the party gives me. I will work as an ordinary karyakarta. If the party gives me the job of a sweeper, I will do it.”

Marandi attacked the Hemant Soren government fiercely, saying the law and order situation in the state was very bad. “People are being killed, but the government is oblivious to their plight,” he alleged.

Shah said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Delhi. Your triumphant address should him, announcing Babulal Marandi’s return to the BJP.”

Welcoming Marandi to the party, the former BJP chief said, “I am happy to come to Jharkhand today because, after 14 years, Babulal ji has returned to the party with the lotus symbol. He has returned home.”

Shah said, “This is the land of Birsa Munda. Our government has given full respect to the tribal heroes and when we got a chance, we handed over the command of the party to a tribal Babulal Marandi.”

Several senior leaders of the party including thousands of supporters including Kadia Munda, Union Minister Arjun Munda, former Chief Minister Raghavur Das, State President Laxman Giluwa and all BJP MPs and MLAs were present on this occasion.

Das welcomed Marandi to the party and said that the arrival of the latter would strengthen the party and the BJP would “touch new heights”. Das credited the formation of the state to the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He said that the new government of Jharkhand was trying to discredit the BJP government and was engaged in propaganda, “but we will play the role of a responsible opposition in the state”.

Das said, “Our rivals will be disturbed by Babulal’s coming back to the party because now the BJP will become stronger.”

In his address, Union Minister Arjun Munda welcomed Marandi to the party. He said, “Babulal ji is an old BJP hand. His arrival strengthens the party.”

Jharkhand BJP president Laxman Gilua echoed Munda’s sentiment. Gilua referred to the Chaibasa massacre and appealed to the home minister to investigate the massacre.

The first Chief Minister of Jharkhand had formed a party in June 2006 under the name Jharkhand Vikas Morcha – Prajatantrik. Marandi’s party received recognition as a state party (a party needs to garner at least 6% of vote-share in an election to be recognised at that level).

Separating from the BJP, Marandi contested the Assembly elections thrice. For the first time in the year 2009, he had registered a strong presence in the Vidhan Sabha with 11 MLAs. The JVM-P had an alliance with the INC in that election.

In 2014, while contesting alone, eight MLAs of the party of Marandi made it to the assembly. Six of these MLAs joined the BJP.

In the 2019 election, Marandi went it alone and contested in all 81 seats. The people of Jharkhand had in this election elected Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey, too, who share a strenuous relationship with Marandi.

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