The BJP on Wednesday inducted six Jharkhand legislators, lured from Babulal Marandi’s JVM-P, at the Jharkhand Bhavan in Delhi in the presence of chief minister Raghubar Das.
The move has had former chief minister Marandi – whose party had a total of eight MLAs in the assembly – complain to the Governor that BJP has resorted to horse-trading. Ironically, the BJP had run its election campaign promising to end Jharkhand’s history of political instability.
Das had to resort to luring the six MLAs because his party’s alliance with the AJSU party has only one more than the required majority in the state legislature. The BJP has 37 MLAs and AJSU-P five in the House. Das clearly does not trust the AJSU-P, whose leader Sudesh Mahto enjoys a good rapport with Das’s inter-party rival Arjun Munda.
One of Tuesday’s inductees include Navin Jaiswal, who had won a bye-election on an AJSU-P ticket in June 2012. He had gone over to Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) ahead of assembly elections as the AJSU-P surrendered his Hatia seat to the BJP as part of a seat-sharing formula. Jaiswal is likely to be made a minister in the impending cabinet expansion, which had been held up as the BJP tried to split the Congress and the JVM-P in search of safe numbers.
Jaiswal’s induction is likely to anger the AJSU-P further. The party is already bargaining for certain portfolios and more ministerial positions post-cabinet expansion.
There was also a controversial face among the six MLAs: the BJP had denied a ticket to Ganesh Ganjhu, a member then, ahead of elections citing his left wing extremist connections. Ganjhu is the brother of banned LWE organisation TSPC’s supremo Brajesh Ganjhu and is considered to have a significant say in the running of the organisation.
Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon, a BJP MLA, is likely to find himself with significant decisions to make, as Marandi – pre-empting the defection – had written to him on Sunday requesting the disqualification of four of the six who now defected. On Monday, the six had written to the Speaker; Oraon has kept the contents of that letter confidential.