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Simon, Peter join BJP

- 5 biggies hop on lotus, Munda claims no ticket deals

Ranchi, Aug. 10: Five prominent leaders from different parties today joined the BJP along with hundreds of their supporters in the capital, underlining the changing political equations in Jharkhand in the aftermath of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s thumping victory in the recent Lok Sabha elections.

The state BJP rolled out the red carpet for JDU MLA Raja Peter from Tamar, JMM’s Littipara MLA Simon Marandi, JVM leader Dulal Bhuiyan, former Ranchi deputy mayor and JVM leader Ajay Nath Shahdeo and former Ranchi MLA Gulshan Lal Ajmani.

Former chief minister Arjun Munda, Ranchi MLA C.P. Singh and other leaders were present at the induction.

This apart, the five of the 11 JVM MLAs — Samresh Singh (Bokaro), Nirbhaya Kumar Shahabadi (Giridih), Chandrika Mahtha (Jamua), Jai Prakash Singh Bhokta (Simaria) and Phulchand Mandal (Sindri) — are scheduled to merge their faction with the BJP soon. The JVM turncoats have already sent a formal proposal to the BJP leadership in this regard.

Moreover, BJP insiders claimed three more JMM MLAs were in touch with the party leadership to negotiate their joining .

Soon after his formal induction into the BJP, former Ranchi deputy mayor Shahdeo said he wanted to serve the national party as an “ordinary member”.

“I had joined politics to serve the people, but had chosen the wrong party (JVM), which pretends to be working for the common masses,” he added.

Marandi, who was ousted from the Hemant Soren’s cabinet after the Lok Sabha polls for “anti-party” activities, used the occasion to spew venom on the JMM and his former bosses.

“If anybody prospered in Jharkhand since its formation, it was Sorens. They (read JMM chief Shibu Soren and his son Hemant) treat the state as their fiefdom,” he added.

Marandi added that the BJP was the only party that would be able to steer Jharkhand in the right direction.

Even as the BJP has thrown its doors open to all prominent faces in the region to strengthen the party’s prospects for the coming Assembly elections, a number of party leaders are feeling threatened with this “mass induction” of turncoats.

They believe that most new entrants would seek tickets and old members might have to “sacrifice” their dream of contesting the coming Assembly polls.

However, a senior BJP leader said the party’s central leadership had already formed a five-member team to look into merits of all claimants seeking tickets. The committee comprises state unit president Ravindra Kumar Rai, party’s organisational in-charge Rajendra Singh, leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Arjun Munda and senior members Saryu Rai and Raghubar Das.

Arjun Munda claimed all those who were joining the party were doing so without any precondition.

“Narendra Modi’s historical accession to power triggered a countrywide wave for political change. People are inspired by the BJP’s ideology and Modi’s development model. Jharkhand needs a majority government and we are moving in that direction,” he said.