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Despite BJP’s stability claims, Jharkhand politics unstable

Marandi's party is suffering because it has failed to forge an ideology of its own to hold down a votebank.

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | Ranchi |
Updated: February 9, 2015 9:27:45 pm

In an attempt to avoid split of his legislative party, JVM-P leader Babulal Marandi on Monday wrote to the Jharkhand Speaker demanding the disqualification of his party’s four legislators.

The BJP-led government in the state has not expanded its cabinet yet because Chief Minister Raghubar Das is reportedly waiting for additions to ensure his coalition with AJSU Party is more stable. He currently has only one legislator more than the required majority of 41.

This comes a week after the BJP tried to split the Congress Legislative Party by wooing four of the party’s six legislators. The move broke down after the BJP managed to convince only three MLAs.

The BJP’s attempts to decrease its reliance on the AJSU Party has taken the state’s politics back to the days of political horse-trading which Jharkhand was infamous for, something which the BJP promised to end if voted to power with a majority of its own. It won 37 of the state’s 81 seats.

Panic set in for Marandi on Monday after only two of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik’s eight MLAs made themselves available for a joint delegation of the Opposition to the Governor. Marandi, the first chief minister of the state, is himself not an MLA; he had lost from both the seats he contested from. Ironically, the Opposition had made the trip to the Raj Bhavan to complain about the government’s inability to expand the cabinet.

Following their no-show, Marandi recommended that Simaria’s Ganesh Ganjhu, Hatia’s Navin Jaiswal, Daltonganj’s Alok Chaurasiya and Chandankyari’s Amar Bauri be disqualified. Prakash Ram, one of the two legislators still sticking by Marandi, said that two others had been in touch with the party leadership.

However, the rumour – which both the JVM-P as well as the BJP were unwilling to confirm – is that Hatia’s Jaiswal is leading five other MLAs out of the JVM-P. The total number of six – over and above two-thirds of eight – will ensure that the anti-defection law will not apply. Marandi is in effect trying to anticipate this by calling for the disqualification of four of his confirmed truants.

Marandi is effectively paying the price for going to the polls with a group of candidates who had nothing to do with his party. Marandi’s party is also suffering because it has failed to forge neither an identity or ideology of its own to hold down a votebank or attract committed cadre.

After being decimated by defections – eight of his 11 MLAs had walked out by the time elections came around – Marandi had taken the JVM-P to polls by winning over a large individuals who had been denied tickets by other political parties. Jaiswal, for instance, was the AJSU Party’s Hatia MLA – he was denied a ticket when the AJSU-P surrendered the seat as part of its seat-sharing formula with the BJP. In his desperation, Marandi had also opted to give tickets to candidates with dubious reputations – Simaria’s Ganjhu, who defected from the BJP, is the brother of Brajesh Ganjhu, who heads banned left wing extremist organisation TSPC.

JVM-P had held talks with the BJP before as well as after elections. Post-poll, BJP’s national president Amit Shah himself had welcomed Marandi – a former RSS man – to merge his party into the BJP. Marandi – reportedly forced by legislative party leader Yadav – rejected the offer both times.

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