It was under Babulal Marandi`s leadership that the BJP won 12 out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand in 1998 general elections. But now he is fighting against the party in the present assembly, in alliance with the Congress party. His Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) is contesting on 19 seats, while the Congress has fielded 62 candidates.
After the bifurcation of Bihar in 2000, when the NDA came to power in Jharkhand, he became the Chief Minister but had to resign and make way for Arjun Munda in 2002, following pressure exerted by coalition partners, primarily the JD(U). Thereafter, he moved away from political main stage of Jharkhand and in 2003 Lok Sabha elections he contested from Koderma and won the seat even as all other sitting MPs of NDA including Yashwant Sinha had to bite dust.
His differences with the state leadership continued to increase and he resigned from the Koderma LS seat as well as from the primary membership of BJP in 2006. He floated a new political outfit named Jharkhand Vikas Morcha. In the subsequent by-elections, he contested from Koderma as an Independent and emerged victorious and once again won in 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
Marandi, a Santhal, was born in a remote Kodia Bandh village under Tisri block of Giridih district of Jharkhand. From Giridih College, he completed his graduation and came into contact with RSS. After doing post-graduation in Geography from Ranchi University, he worked as a teacher in a village primary school for a year but gave up the job to work for the Sangh Parivar. He served as the organising secretary of the Jharkhand region for Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
In 1991, the BJP had given him Lok Sabha ticket to contest from Dumka (reserved) seat which he lost. Again in 1996, he lost to Shibu Soren by just 5,000 odd votes. In the meantime, BJP made him Jharkhand unit president.
At the age of 35, Arjun Munda got the distinction of being the youngest ever Indian to hold the post of Chief Minister.
Currently the Leader of the Opposition in Jharkhand, he started his political in 1980s under the banner of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. As part of the Jharkhand movement, Munda’s political clout grew on tribals and in 1995 he was elected to Bihar state assembly from Kharswan. He later shifted his loyalty to BJP and retained the seat in 2000 and 2005 elections.
When Jharkhand became a new state in 2000, Munda served as the Social Welfare Minister in the first government under Babulal Marandi. In 2003, when the non-BJP MLAs supporting the government called for Marandi’s replacement, he emerged as the best alternative. He took the post of Chief Minister on March 18, 2003 and continued till March 2, 2005.
After inconclusive verdict in the assembly polls of 2005, he had to vacate the apex post following the intervention of Governor Syed Sibtey Razi. But ten days later, on March 12, he was reappointed as the CM and won confidence of the House on March 15, 2005, by a vote of 40 to 37. His second term needed support of several independents and, under political compulsions, he had to resign again on September 14, 2006. Madhu Koda, an independent MLA, replaced him on September 18, 2006.
Arjun Munda was born on January 5, 1968 in Khrangajhar village of Jamshedpur.
When the movement for a separate Jharkhand was on a decline, Shibu Soren was the person who gave it a new lease of life under the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in 1972. In his early years, Soren brought industrial and mining workers, mainly non-tribals belonging to Dalit and Backward communities, into the JMM fold.
Born in Nemra village of Hazaribagh on January 11, 1944, Soren completed his schooling from the same district. His political career started in early 1970s and he rose to become a popular tribal leader, known as ‘Dishom Guru’.
On January 23, 1975, he allegedly took part in launching an attack on the Muslim-dominated Chirudih village in Jamtara district in a campaign to drive away ‘outsiders’. Ten people, including nine Muslims and six policemen, were killed and he was charged with murder along with 68 others.
His association with the late Congress MP Gyanranjan brought him close to late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1972 he won the Dumka Lok Sabha seat. He lost his first Lok Sabha election in 1977 but was re-elected in 1980 and subsequently won in 1989, 1991 and 1996 as well. In 2002, he was elected to Rajya Sabha with BJP’s help but in the same year, won the Dumka Lok Sabha seat in a by-election. He was re-elected in 2004.
Soren became Union Coal Minister in the Manmohan Singh government, but was asked to resign following an arrest warrant in his name in the Chirudih case. Initially, he went underground, but later secured bail after spending over a month in judicial custody. Released on bail, he was re-inducted into the Union Cabinet on November 27, 2004, as part of a deal for a Congress-JMM alliance before Jharkhand assembly polls in February/March 2005.
He became the Chief Minister of Jharkhand for a brief period of nine days, as Governor Sibtey Razi invited him to form the government on March 2, 2005 but failed to win a vote of confidence and resigned on March 11, 2005.
He was again inducted into the Union Cabinet in November 2006, but had to quit the post when a Delhi court found him guilty in the murder of his private secretary Shashi Nath Jha in 1994. The CBI chargesheet stated that Jha’s knowledge of the reported deal between the Congress and the JMM to save the then Narasimha Rao government during the July 1993 no-confidence motion cost him his life. His was the first case of a Union Minister being found guilty of involvement in a murder case.
Shibu Soren once again became the Chief Minister of Jharkhand on August 27, 2008 after his life term in the Shashinath Jha murder case was set aside by the Delhi High Court. But he had to step down from Chief Ministership for failing to get elected to the state legislature within 6 months of his appointment.
He created history by becoming the first Chief Minister to lose the assembly seat in the by-election to Tamar assembly seat to a political novice Gopal Krishan Patar alias Raja Peter of the Jharkhand Party by a substantial margin of over 9,000 votes.
Former Deputy Chief Minister and an Independent legislator, Stephen Marandi is now fighting on Congress party ticket from Dumka. A veteran of Jharkhand politics, Marandi has been a close associate of Shibu Soren but parted ways because of differences with the JMM chief.
Stephen Marandi, a Christian, announced his resignation a day after BJP national vice president Babulal Marandi quit the party’s primary membership as well as the Lok Sabha. Both the Marandis formed a non-political organisation- the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) - to fight corruption as well as the persisting Maoist problem in the state and to ‘expose’ the NDA government.