RANCHI: Former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi’s return to the BJP has boosted its chances of winning one of two seats in the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.After Marandi rejoined the BJP, the total count of BJP MLAs rose to 26, only two short of the magic number of 28 required for winning a Rajya Sabha seat from Jharkhand. The ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, already having 30 MLAs in the Assembly, is set to win the other Rajya Sabha seat.
The polls are necessitated as the five-year term of RS MPs Premchand Gupta (RJD) and Parimal Nathwani (Independent) ends on April 9. If the AJSU, which snapped its ties with the BJP ahead of the Assembly elections, supports the BJP candidates, it will be an easy ride for the saffron party to win a Rajya Sabha seat. BJP, however, claimed that two Independent MLAs are also in the contact and if they succeeded in convincing them, it will have the support of 30 MLAs. “I don’t think that we will have any problem in winning one seat as we have 26 MLAs now. AJSU, having two MLAs, is an old ally and hence it will also vote for us, making it 28,” said a senior BJP functionary. “Moreover, the two independent MLAs are in contact with senior leaders.”
AJSU leaders asserted that there is no other option, but to go with the BJP given the long association between the two parties. “In the given circumstances and looking at the longtime association with the BJP, we will go along with it and vote for its candidate in Rajya Sabha elections,” said a senior AJSU leader, who refused to be quoted. Now, the BJP requires only two MLAs, which we will add up to final number for a Rajya Sabha seat, he added. Meanwhile, the BJP and the JMM are yet to take decision on their candidates. Speculations are rife that JMM patriarch Shibu Soren may be sent to the Rajya Sabha, but his fragile health comes in the way of his nomination.