NEW DELHI: Move appears afoot within the BJP to bring back former chief minister of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi in the party fold in an attempt to shore up support among the tribals. The BJP is likely to go for tribal and non-tribal leadership in Jharkhand for leader of Opposition and state unit chief posts, as the saffron outfit looks for leaders who can win back tribal support for the party.
Sources said that the BJP Central leadership is keen to take Marandi on board in Jharkhand even though the former chief minister has expressed his unwillingness to take up any post in the state.“In the coming weeks, there’s a possibility of positive development on the front of bringing back Marandi into the party fold. He has also realised that the time has come for him to return to the BJP,” said a senior BJP functionary.
Marandi had floated Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) after quitting the BJP, but has not been able to establish his party in the reckoning of state politics. His party has faced poaching in the past, while sources said that if he decides to merge JVM with BJP there could be desertion from his ranks to other parties.
The BJP has lost power in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in quick succession to give rise to soul searching within the party for the erosion of the support base among the tribal. BJP had also fared badly in the tribal dominated areas of Madhya Pradesh in 2018 state elections.
“Winning support of tribals will be crucial in BJP’s attempt to win in West Bengal next year. The BJP will enlist tribal leaders to campaign in the state, while Jharkhand has a number of bordering districts with West Bengal,” added the BJP functionary.
Neel Kanth Munda is currently a senior tribal leader who was able to win Assembly elections in Jharkhand. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha was able to polarize the tribal electorate largely against the BJP even while Cabinet minister Arjun Munda was not able to blunt anti-incumbency against the party in the state.
Not an ideal start
Former chief minister of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi had floated Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) after quitting the BJP, but has not been able to establish his party in the reckoning of state politics.