After BJP rout in tribal seats, question mark on Jharkhand party leadership

Although Marandi defeated JMM Patriarch Shibu Soren in 1998 and 1999, establishing himself as a tribal leader in Santhal Pargana and Jharkhand politics, he could not convert his popularity into votes in the tribal region.
Jharkhand BJP chief Babulal Marandi
Jharkhand BJP chief Babulal Marandi File photo

RANCHI : After suffering a defeat in the tribal heartlands, state BJP president Babulal Marandi is likely to face the brunt of central leadership’s displeasure. Party insiders suggest that the BJP may overhaul its organizational structure following its failure to attract tribal voters, potentially replacing Marandi with another tribal leader capable of reclaiming lost ground in the five tribal seats – Rajmahal, Singhbhum, Khunti, Lohardaga, and Dumka.

Following the setback in the 2019 assembly elections, BJP appointed Babulal Marandi, an old-timer, to lead the party in Jharkhand. However, he couldn’t even retain the three tribal seats – Khunti, Lohardaga, and Dumka – won by the party in the previous polls. This time, BJP lost all five tribal seats in the state.

Party functionaries had hoped that Marandi, with his strong mass base in Santhal Pargana, would attract tribal voters. Despite concerted efforts, BJP failed to secure any reserved tribal seats in the state. In four out of the five reserved seats, the party suffered defeats by over 120,000 votes.

Although Marandi defeated JMM Patriarch Shibu Soren in 1998 and 1999, establishing himself as a tribal leader in Santhal Pargana and Jharkhand politics, he could not convert his popularity into votes in the tribal region. With Assembly elections scheduled for November-December, swift action is imperative to avoid a repeat of the 2019 scenario in 2024.

There’s now a period of introspection within the Jharkhand BJP, with questions being raised about state leadership. The results indicate a tough road ahead for BJP in the Assembly elections. The five tribal LS seats

correspond to 28 Assembly constituencies reserved for Scheduled Tribes.

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