RANCHI: The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) legislative party is heading for a split with two of its MLAs meeting Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, amid indication of their joining the grand old party.
JVM-P led by former chief minister Babulal Marandi has three MLAs--Marandi himself, Bandhu Tirkey and Pradip Yadav- in the present House.
Tirkey and Yadav met Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi Thursday evening with the AICC in-charge R P N Singh, triggering speculation of their joining the party.
In a significant political development,the JVM-P on Friday announced its decision to withdraw support to the Hemant Soren-led government in Jharkhand,accusing the ruling alliance partner Congress of attempting to poach its MLAs.
The JVM-P had supported the opposition coalition ministry from outside and its withdrawal would not have any impact on the government that has 47 MLAs in the 81-member house.
"Our party has extended support to the Hemant Soren government. But its coalition partner, Congress is attempting to poach our MLAs. In view of that, the party has decided to withdraw its support," JVM-P General Secretary Saroj Singh told reporters here.
He said the party has also decided to remove Pradip Yadav as the legislature party leader in the state assembly and sent a letter to the Speaker in this connection.
The letter signed by Marandi and addressed to Soren said, "Our party Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) had on December 24, 2019, gave a letter of unconditional support to the government under your (Hemant Soren) leadership.
But the Congress, which is a part of the UPA, is trying to break our MLAs, which the newspapers have published prominently today.
"In this context, our party has reviewed its support and decided to withdraw support to the UPA government under your leadership," the letter, a copy of which was released to the media, said.
On the two MLAs meeting Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, JPCC spokesman Alok Kumar Dubey told PTI "The two leaders got the blessings of our senior leaders. They are welcome to join the party."
"After consultations with JPCC president Rameshwar Oraon and CLP leader Alamgir Alam further actions will set in motion," he said.
While Tirkey, MLA from Mandar in Ranchi district, was expelled by the party on Tuesday last, Yadav, elected from Poreyahat in Godda district, is still its leader.
Marandi himself won from Dharwar seat in Giridih district.
The development has come at a time when speculation is rife in the media that JVM-P may merge with the saffron party and Marandi could be named as new leader of the BJP legislature party in the Jharkhand assembly.
Significantly, the 25-member BJP legislature party has not yet named its leader.
The JVM-P, however, has denied the media reports that the party was heading to merge with the BJP.
"See, I don't know about it. But the truth is, whenever a party does some good thing, a government is formed or a government goes following elections, people air such 'anayas' (spontaneous) views through media, sometimes saying the party will merge with the Congress and sometimes with the BJP," Abhay Singh, its principal secretary had said on Tuesday last.
Congress had won 16 seats in the recently-held assembly polls and is part of the government in the state.
While the JMM won 30 seats, another ally, the RJD won only one seat in the November-December, 2019 assembly polls.
Both Tirkey and Yadav were reportedly sidelined during the reconstitution of JVM-Ps central committee by Marandi on January 17 as they had been named in the Executive Committee but did not find place in the list of office-bearers.
While Tirkey had been the General Secretary before the central committee was dissolved on January 5,Yadav had quit as the principal general secretary last year following sexual allegations against him levelled by a party leader.
The JVM-P, which had been a part of the 'Mahagathbandhan' along with JMM, Congress and RJD in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections last year, left the alliance and contested the assembly polls on its own.
When asked whether they would join the Congress, JVM-P MLA Pradip Yadav told PTI they (along with Bandhu Tirkey) were in discussion with their supporters.
"Maan hei, hum log tatol rahein hein, aabhi tak pura decision nahin hua hein (we have the desire, discussion with people are on, but nothing has been finalised as yet), Yadav said when asked what significance could be made following their meeting with the Congress high command.
When queried whether their move has anything to do with the speculations in the media that the JVM-P might merge with the BJP, Yadav sarcastically replied, "Merger tou BJP mein bhi ho sakta hei, Congress mein bhi ho sakta hein (merger can be with the BJP or with the Congress)."
JVM-P formed by Marandi in 2006 after quitting the BJP,had split after assembly polls last time also in 2015.
The BJP had inducted its six legislators, out of a total eight, to give strength to the then BJP-AJSU ministry headed by Raghubar Das, which initially had only one more MLA than the required majority in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly then.