Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babulal Marandi is likely to be elected the legislative party leader of the BJP on February 24, sources said. "A meeting of party legislators has been called on February 24 to elect the legislative party leader," Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Jharkhand unit general secretary Deepak Prakash told IANS. All the legislators have been asked to be present on February 24 at the BJP headquarters in Ranchi for the election.
BJP sources say that the legislators' meeting is a mere formality. Babulal Marandi, who has rejoined the saffron party, is all set to be elected the legislative party leader. The election will take place in the presence of central BJP leader P. Murlidhar Rao. After getting elected as the legislative party leader, Marandi will become the Leader of Opposition.
Marandi returned to the BJP after 14 years in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah on February 17. After Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in 2000, Marandi had become the first Chief Minister of the state. Marandi was seen as a leader with a clean image. He is also known for his fight against Maoists.
The Maoists killed Marandi's son in 2007 in Giridih district. Marandi as Chief Minister worked on improving the condition of roads and road connectivity, especially in the rural areas. He, however, failed to keep the BJP's allies together, who revolted against him and forced him to resign in March 2003 leading to the elevation of Arjun Munda as Chief Minister. Marandi quit the BJP just after the fall of the Arjun Munda government in 2006 and floated the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P).