Ranchi, Feb 17 Former Chief Minister and president of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, Babulal Marandi on Monday merged his party with the BJP and rejoined it after 14 years in the presence of senior BJP leader and Home Minister Amit Shah.
The Ghar Wapsi programme took place at Prabhat Tara ground in Ranchi. Amit Shah specially arrived here from New Delhi for the event. Along with Marandi, thousands of JVM-P workers also joined the BJP.
"Efforts were made by BJP leaders to bring me back since 2014. After the 2019 assembly polls, I was again approached to join the BJP which is the only party in the country which carries forward India's spirit of secularism. There is an effort to mislead the people on the CAA," said Marandi after joining the BJP.
Marandi rejoining the BJP was turned into a grand event by the BJP. Tribal Affairs Minister and senior BJP leader Arjun Munda, BJP national vice president Om Mathur, former Chief Minister Raghubar Das, several Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MPs were present on the occasion.
The BJP seems to have lured back Marandi in order to revive the party among the tribal communities. The party has sidelined senior leader Arjun Munda as he does not enjoy good relations with Raghubar Das who has the blessings of Amit Shah.
The BJP has brought back Marandi to make him the party's tribal face in the state, a senior leader said.
The appointment of the first non-tribal Chief Minister, Raghubar Das in 2014, did not go down well with the tribal communities and the BJP lost a majority of the tribal seats in the 2019 assembly polls.
In the assembly elections, held in November-December 2019, the JVM-P had won three seats which included Babulal Marandi, Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey.
In a move for a smooth merger, the JVM-P expelled Pradeep Yadav and Bandhu Tirkey who were against the merger.
Both the expelled JVM-P legislators on Sunday announced they were joining the Congress.
Marandi was the first Chief Minister of the BJP-led government in Jharkhand. He quit the BJP in 2006 and floated his own political outfit.
( With inputs from IANS )