Will Marandi be leader of BJP’s Jharkhand legislature party?

New Delhi (IANS) A day after Babulal Marandi returned to the BJP at a massive rally in Jharkhand, BJP President J.P. Nadda has appointed party General Secretary Muralidhar Rao as the central observer for election of the leader of the state legislature party.

The decision was announced in a party communique issued by BJP leader Arun Singh.

It is widely seen as indications that Marandi may get the job. The BJP, which faced a beating in the recent Jharkhand Assembly election due to an unpopular non-tribal Chief Minister — Raghubar Das — seems to be readying to undo the damage. If it happens, it will also be a way of showing appreciation for Marandi agreeing to merge his political outfit, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik, with that of the BJP.

Marandi rejoined the BJP at a gala ceremony at Jagannath Maidan at Ranchi in presence of the top BJP leadership, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah. A large crowd of the BJP and JVM workers gathered to witness Marandi’s ‘ghar wapsi’. Marandi also announced the merger of his party with the BJP at the event.

Marandi, who became the first Chief Minister after the formation of Jharkhand in 2000, had to step down in 2003 due to internal strife in the BJP. After the dissatisfaction crossed a level, he formed a new political outfit by separating from the BJP in 2006.

The BJP lost the Assembly election in the state, getting 25 seats in the 81-member assembly. The JMM, which fought the election along with the Congress and the RJD, gained a comfortable majority.

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