In a major setback to the Mahagathbandhan, just ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections in Jharkhand, two JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha), two Congress, and one independent MLA joined the BJP on Wednesday. JMM MLA Kunal Sadangi and Jaiprakash Patel, Congress MLAs Sukhdev Bhagat and Manoj Yadav, and independent MLA Bhanu Pratap Shahi joined the saffron party in Ranchi in the presence of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, Union Minister Jayant Sinha, and Jharkhand BJP in-charge Nand Kishore Yadav.
Congress MLA Sukhdev Bhagat said, "I'm joining BJP because of the party's ideology based on nationalism and development, and I am sure I will be able to do justice ".
JMM MLA Kunal Sadangi said that people of Jharkhand have already given the certificate to Jharkhand Government's vision. He said that it's difficult to be in opposition now. Independent MLA, Bhanu Pratap Shahi said that under the leadership of Narendra Modi, India's security, honour, and development are secured, and this is the reason why he decided to join BJP.
The joining of these five opposition legislators has strengthened the BJP ahead of the elections. Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das said, "These MLAs have joined BJP for the party's commitment for nationalism and development. In 2014 and 2019 elections, the country's electorate broke the myth of caste barrier in elections and favoured a mandate for development".
With the desertions of two Congress MLAs, the party is trying to do a face-saving exercise. State Congress president Rameshwar Oraon said:
"The MLAs have joined BJP and not the voters. Congress party has a strong base, and desertion of MLAS will not affect the party's voteshare. There is misgovernance in Jharkhand for the past five years ".
With the joining of opposition legislators, BJP has made a huge dent into the Mahagathbandhan ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections which are slated to be held in December 2019. In the last assembly elections, BJP had won 37 seats, AJSU four, JMM 19, Congress nine, JVM eight, and others four seats out of 81 seats. Six MLAs of JVM had switched sides and joined the BJP after the Vidhan Sabha elections.