On the heels of the Janata Dal United’s re-entry into the National Democratic Alliance, Babulal Marandi, a tribal leader from Jharkhand who left the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2006, is keen to return to the party. It was the BJP
which made him a Union minister and then chief minister of Jharkhand when the state came into existence in 2000. After parting ways with the BJP
in 2006, on account of being sidelined, he floated the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha.
Marandi is close to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who has addressed over half a dozen rallies in Jharkhand with him in the last one year, propagating his prohibition message. Kumar will lobby for Marandi’s return, if needed. Marandi’s rival in the BJP
is Arjun Munda, a fellow Jharkhand tribal leader. The BJP
is looking for a credible tribal face in the tribal-dominated state, with an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
The lone Congress veteran who holds sway in MP
Madhya Pradesh had 43 local body elections recently. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won 25, the Congress 15 and three went to Independents. But of the 15 Congress seats, nine came from the Mahakoshal and Chhindwara belt, where party veteran Kamal Nath holds sway. The BJP
won five seats from this area. The two Independents who won owe their allegiance to Nath. In the Nimar Vindhya and Betul region, where MP Congress chief Arun Yadav has a presence, the Congress won only two of the 16 seats. Another Congress stalwart, Jyotiraditya Scindia, could not manage a single seat for the party from his bastion, the Chambal region; the BJP
bagged both the seats that went to the polls. As for former state Congress chief Kanti Lal Bhuria the party won only three of the eight seats from his area.