Wednesday, May 17, 2006 09:47:00 pmPTI
NEW DELHI: In a major setback to BJP, its national Vice-President and lone Lok Sabha member from Jharkhand, Babulal Marandi resigned on Wednesday both from the primary membership of the party and Parliament.
Sources in the Lok Sabha Secretariat said Marandi, MP from Kodarma, sent in his resignation to the Speaker's office by fax.
In a separate resignation letter to party President Rajnath Singh, the former Jharkhand Chief Minister is understood to have resigned from both the primary membership and Vice-Presidentship, party sources said.
Marandi's resignation came even as the party high command made last-minute efforts to persuade him not to take the extreme step, first by deputing General Secretary (Organisation) Sanjay Joshi to talk to him and later asking former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha to intervene.
However, Marandi ignored Joshi's request and commenced his 24-hour fast in Giridih district of the state against the 'rampant corruption and underdevelopment' in Jharkhand.
Marandi, who recently floated Jharkhand Vikas Morcha alongwith UPA Convener and Independent MLA Stephen Marandi, is expected to make a formal announcement on Thursday morning after breaking his fast, sources close to him said.
The former Chief Minister, who has been feeling sidelined in the party, is likely to announce formation of a regional party, they said.
Only two MLAs have so far come out his support but if they resign from the Assembly, it could spell trouble for the Arjun Munda Government which has a razor thin majority
In his resignation letter, Marandi is understood to have blamed Chief Minister Munda, state party President Yadunath Pandey besides senior leader LK Advani for the problems in the state, the sources said.
In a letter purportedly written by Marandi to the party President, excerpts of which appeared in a Hindi magazine, Marandi charged the party with keeping the people of the country on the last row.
"We have forgotten that in public life, the nation's aspirations should be supreme and not that of the individual", he reportedly said.
The senior leader also expressed surprise over the appointment of R N Tiwari as Special Representative of the state Government in Delhi 'at the behest of LK Advani'.
Earlier in the day, the BJP top brass met and discussed the situation in Jharkhand following Marandi's resignation.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Leaders of Opposition L K Advani and Jaswant Singh, party President Rajnath Singh and other senior leaders, including Sushma Swaraj and VK Malhotra were present at the meeting.
Marandi goes on fast against extremism
Wednesday, May 17, 2006 15:01 IST
RANCHI: Undeterred by the consequences he may face from his party for going ahead with his agitation, BJP national vice- president Babulal Marandi on Wednesday began a 24-hour fast to draw the attention of the central and state governments on how extremism was hampering progress in the most backward areas of Jharkhand.
The former Chief Minister chose Sevatand in Giridih district, about 200 km from here, as the venue of his fast.
Marandi, who alleged that rampant corruption and growing extremism had hampered the progress in NDA-ruled Jharkhand, ignored the party national general secretary Sanjay Joshi's advice to call off his fast.
The BJP leader had also said that Naxalites have spread their activities in the 70-km stretch spreading from Giridih to Koderma in Jharkhand, bordering Bihar due to non-development of those areas.
In Jamshedpur on Sunday, Marandi charged the Munda government with rampant corruption at the highest level and said he would fight against corruption and extremism under the banner of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, a non-political outfit floated in association with UPA convenor and independent MLA Stephen Marandi.
Marandi on fast, Munda accused of threatening JVM convenor
RANCHI/JAMSHEDPUR, MAY 17 (PTI)
BJP National vice- president and former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi today went on a 24-hour fast against "rampant corruption" and "growing extremism" in NDA-ruled Jharkhand.
In a related development, Surya Singh Besra, convenor of the apolitical outfit Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM), under which Marandi had been leading a tirade against the state government, lodged a complaint against the Chief Minister Arjun Munda and his nephew alleging that he had been threatened over phone this morning.
Marandi, who had rebelled against then party president L K Advani in May last year for nomination of Yadunath Pandey as the state unit chief, ignored the advice of BJP Natonal General Secretary Sanjay Joshi to call off his fast as it would show the party in bad light.
"Whatever I have to say I will after 10:00 am tomorrow," Marandi told newsmen at Sevatand in his Giridih Lok Sabha constituency, a 70-km stretch of which according to him is 'worst-hit' by extremism.
He also alleged rampant corruption in the higher echelons of the NDA government, which he said was putting spokes in the path of progress.
At a meeting of the JVM on Sunday Marandi had said that he would fight against the corruption and extremism under the banner of the non-political outfit floated by him and JMM Vice-President Stephen Marandi.
At Jamshedpur, Surya Singh Besra, who is also the president of the Jharkhand People's party, after filing the complaint with the Govindpur police station, told newsmen said that he received the threats for levelling corruption charges against the chief minister at Sunday's meeting at which Babulal Marandi and Stephen Marandi were present.
Besra, a neighbour of the Chief Minister here in Ghorabandham, said Munda had threatened him two minutes after his nephew Ganesh Solanki and his staff Gonu alias Ganesh Ghonsal came and took the phone numbers of his residence and mobile.
Besra claimed that the call registered on his mobile phone was the Ranchi residence phone number of the Chief Minister.
A copy of the complaint was sent to the Jharkhand governor and police superintendent here.
When asked about the complaint, the superintendent of police, Ashish Batra said he would speak to press on the issue later.
Later, Batra said the police have been investigating into Besra's allegation against the Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda.
Addressing a press conference in Jamshedpur, Batra said a preliminary investigation has revealed that Besra had called the Chief Minister at his Ranchi residence this morning.
As no talk could take place when Besra called him, the Chief Minister had called him back half an hour later to speak to him.
Confirming that Besra had lodged a written complaint against the Chief Minister for allegedly threatening him with dire consequences, the SP said no evidence was provided by Besra to support his charge.
Besra is also the president of the Jharkhand People's Party and former MLA.
Talking to newsmen soon after lodging the written complaint, Besra claimed that the Chief Minister was annoyed with the corruption charges levelled against him at a meeting of JVM here on Sunday last.
The former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Babulal Marandi and former opposition leader in the state assembly Stephen Marandi were present in the meeting.