Former Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MP Suraj Mandal joins BJP



															Suraj Mandal (centre) being welcomed by the Jharkhand BJP president Laxman Gilua (right) and other party workers at state BJP office in Ranchi on Sunday, October 14, 2018.(Diwakar Prasad/ HT Photo )

Once a close confidante of JMM chief Shibu Soren, Mandal was the vice-chairman of the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council in 1995 when Soren was its chairman. Mandal was, however, expelled from JMM for his alleged anti-party activities in 1999. He, then, formed the JVD on December 6, 1999. tags

Former Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) parliamentarian Suraj Mandal on Sunday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with his supporters, which the party claimed would help in achieving its mission of making Santhal Pargana ‘JMM- mukt’ (JMM-free).

Santhal Pargana is considered to be the JMM bastion where it had grabbed two parliamentary and six assembly seats in 2014 elections.

With the development, Jharkhand Vikas Dal (JVD) formed by Mandal after being expelled from the JMM on December 6, 1999, ceased to exist in Jharkhand, as all JVD members came into the BJP fold, Mandal said.

Besides Mandal, Koderma Zila Parishad chairperson Shalini Gupta also joined the BJP along with over 1,000 other leaders and workers from different political parties on Sunday, BJP office bearers claimed.

BJP state president Lakshman Gilua said, “People of Jharkhand have understood which party is working for their betterment. Now, people from different political parties are joining BJP after being impressed with the party’s ideology.” He claimed that the party would win all the 14 parliamentary seats in the state with people’s support in the next general elections.

BJP spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said, “Suraj Mandal is a big name in Santhal Paragana. His presence would help BJP’s mission of making Santhal Paragana JMM-mukt.”

Once a close confidante of JMM chief Shibu Soren, Mandal was the vice-chairman of the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council in 1995 when Soren was its chairman. Mandal was, however, expelled from JMM for his alleged anti-party activities in 1999. He, then, formed the JVD on December 6, 1999.

“I see my political career and development of the state only under BJP. The JMM and Congress have done nothing but cheated the people of Jharkhand,” Mandal said.

Mandal had started his political career from Youth Congress in 1971, and he claimed to have founded JMM in 1974. “I was the founder of JMM. The father and son (Sibu Soren and Hemant Soren) hijacked the party to mint money,” Mandal said.

Mandal had been three-time legislator from Poreyahat assembly seat between 1980 and 1991. He had won Godda parliamentary seat in 1991.

JMM, however, doesn’t see Mandal as threat in Santhal Paragana. JMM spokesperson Vinod Pandey said, “Mandal is struggling for his existence. After he was expelled from the party in 1999, he rejoined JMM in 2009. But, he was expelled from the party again in 2011 for anti-party activities. Mandal is threat to BJP not JMM in Santhal Paragana, as he has no base there.”

First Published: Oct 15, 2018 15:59 IST

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