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Scramble for lotus berth

Ranchi, Aug. 8: The BJP seems to have become the proverbial Pied Piper of Hamelin, luring MLAs of various denominations, including the JVM breakaway group, flamboyant JDU MLA Raja Peter and JMM veteran Simon Marandi.

The breakaway JVM leaders are likely to join the BJP anytime after Sunday. Sanjay Choubey, the general secretary of the faction, went to Delhi today to meet BJP national president Amit Shah.

Yesterday, a working committee meeting in Bokaro of the breakaway faction led by JVM functionary K.P. Sharma and MLA Samresh Singh passed the merger resolution.

State BJP president and Koderma MP Ravindra Kumar Rai told The Telegraph over phone that the merger was “just a matter of time”.

“Once our party’s ongoing national council meeting is over, the merger will be done. I think the merger is scheduled next week,” Rai said.

So far, five JVM MLAs — Samresh Singh, Phulchand Mandal, Nirbhaya Kumar Shahabadi, Chandrika Mahatha and Jai Prakash Singh Bhokta — have defected from JVM’s legislative fold. Mandal has already formally joined the BJP.

“We have put in our resignation to the party (JVM) and will resign as MLAs after Sunday,” Bokaro MLA Samresh said. Three other JVM MLAs interested in testing BJP waters, Arvind Singh, Satyanand Tiwari and Dhullu Mahto, are likely to meet central BJP leadership after Independence Day.

JDU MLA from Tamar Gopal Krishna Patar alias Raja Peter held a meeting today at a Ranchi hotel where he declared his intention to join the BJP with “a sizeable number of supporters” on Sunday.

JMM’s MLA Simon Marandi, former JMM minister Dulal Bhuiyan and former Ranchi deputy mayor and JVM leader Ajay Nath Sahdeo will also join the BJP on Sunday.