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Marandi puts up brave front after JVM exodus

Ranchi, July 31: A day after at least four JVM MLAs announced their decision to join the BJP, Babulal Marandi appeared unfazed, instead hailing the exodus of the veteran politicians as a much-needed “purification” for his party.

The former chief minister, who had begun his political career with the BJP, refused to accept that losing leaders like Bokaro MLA Samresh Singh, Simaria’s Jai Prakash Singh Bhokta, Jamua’s Chandrika Mahtha and Giridih’s Nirbhaya Kumar Shahabadi was going to affect JVM’s prospects in the forthcoming Assembly elections. He reiterated that whatever had happened was for JVM’s good as he was looking to get rid of the quartet, who had become a sort of liability.

“Our task has been made easier by the BJP before the Assembly polls. A few leaders who are reported to be joining the BJP have become obsolete for us. It is necessary that this kind of purification takes place in politics,” Marandi told The Telegraph.

Earlier in the day, the JVM supremo maintained the same stand while speaking to mediapersons in Bokaro, where he had stopped over briefly from Dumka before leaving for Ranchi. “The exit of a few MLAs will have no impact on the popularity of JVM. We still have several leaders to contest the elections,” he said.

Particularly hitting out at local MLA Samresh Singh, the former chief minister said the style of functioning of the maverick leader was known to everyone.

“People like Samresh join and ditch parties — be it JVM or BJP — for their personal gain. He has invited a lot of trouble for us and we are happy that his true character has now been exposed to all,” he added.

He also went to the extent of claiming that had Singh not left JVM, he would have been expelled for his anti-party activities.

JVM’s second-in-command Pradeep Yadav, who is also the party’s legislative party leader in the state Assembly, said in politics, it was normal for leaders to leave one party and join another.

“The leaders who are joining the BJP know that they were not going to get tickets (from the JVM) in the forthcoming Assembly polls,” he told The Telegraph.

However, political pundits are seeing the recent developments as a double blow for the JVM in an election year. As it is, Marandi faced a humiliating defeat in Dumka and was pushed to a distant third in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

But Marandi was in no mood to give up and ruled out any chances of him going back to the BJP. “If I had to join BJP, I could have done it long back, but I cannot ditch the people of Jharkhand. Babulal Marandi is a politician who has respect and love from the common masses. I am going nowhere and JVM will contest all Assembly seats,” he added.


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