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BJP woos likely turncoats

Ranchi, July 27: The state BJP today inducted Praveen Prabhakar, who resigned as Ajsu vice-president last evening, into the party, apparently unleashing a spate of political “poaching” ahead of the Assembly polls.

Prabhakar, who spent years with Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto, said he found himself close to the BJP ideology. “I feel that days of regional parties in Jharkhand are over. A stable majority government of the BJP is the only solution,” he said.

However, it is not yet confirmed if the BJP has assured Prabhakar a ticket. As an Ajsu nominee, Prabhakar had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Assembly polls from Nala, a constituency represented by BJP’s Satyanand Jha Bhokta.

Insiders claimed the newly elected BJP national president Amit Shah, during recent meetings with state party leaders, has set a 45-plus target for the Assembly elections in Jharkhand. Shah, who will visit the state on August 24 and address party workers at Morabadi Ground, is believed to have no ideological inhibition about “poaching” MLA probables with a clean image from other parties.

According to party sources, BJP leaders are holding negotiations with a number of potential turncoats. For instance, Ajsu MLA from Lohardaga Kamal Kishore Bhagat is apparently keen on the BJP.

But, leaders of Babulal Marandi’s JVM are seen as the biggest threat to the national party during the coming polls, and are being wooed as well.

JVM MLA from Bokaro, Samresh Singh, all praises for the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the Lok Sabha polls, seems to be awaiting an invitation. Another JVM MLA from Baghmara Dhullu Mahto, seen as more close to Samresh than Marandi, is apparently waiting for the right time before making any “big move”.

A couple of BJP leaders have been deputed to hold backroom negotiations with two JVM MLAs, Nirbhaya Kumar Sahabadi from Giridih and Arvind Singh from Ichagarh. JVM leader Amit Mahto, who showed his clout in the Silli constituency — the home borough of Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto — during the previous Assembly polls, is in touch with the BJP.