Ranchi: With former Sangh Parivar man Babulal Marandi announcing support for JMM's Rajya Sabha candidate Basant Soren, Jharkhand is seeing another uniting of forces against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The BJP, which rules the state in coalition with the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), is certain to win one of the two Rajya Sabha seats from the state for which polling is scheduled on June 11.
The other it should lose given that Shibu Soren's Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress, and Babulal Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Pratantrik (JVM-P) have come together to thwart the BJP's attempt to bag another Rajya Sabha seat despite not having the required number of MLAs.
Announcing his party's support for JMM's Basant Soren on Friday, Marandi said the BJP was encouraging horse trading of legislators by fielding two candidates despite not having the required numbers.
At no cost would he allow the BJP to have its way, he said.
For Marandi, supporting Basant Soren has only been the lesser evil as he has decried JMM supremo and Dumka MP Shibu Soren's attempts to promote his family in politics.
Basant is the youngest son of Shibu Soren and the youngest brother of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
The BJP has fielded Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi as one its two candidates; the other is industrialist Mahesh Poddar.
A Rajya Sabha candidate needs a minimum support of 28 legislators to get through.
In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), comprising the BJP and the AJSU, has a total of 47 MLAs.
So Naqvi is all set to get through. The contest is between Poddar and Soren junior.
After electing Naqvi, the BJP would be left with just 19 votes. So far it has managed to bring in Geeta Koda of the Jai Bharat Samanta Party and Bhanu Pratap Sahi of Navjawan Sangarsh Morcha into its fold.
That takes its support base to 21, still way short of 28.
The JMM, on the other hand, has 19 MLAs, the Congress seven and the JVM-P two. That already adds up to the magical figure of 28, without counting Marxist Co-ordination Committee (MCC) whose sole legislator Arup Chatterjee is also with the opposition.
Enos Ekka, the MLA of the Jharkhand Party who is currently lodged in jail, and Kushwaha Shivpujan Mehta, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator, have yet to take a call on whom to support.
The lone CPI(ML) legislator Rajkumar Yadav is likely to continue with his party's tradition of abstaining from Rajya Sabha polls.
Marandi also said on Friday that his party has petitioned the Jharkhand High Court urging that the Rajya Sabha polls should not be allowed until the assembly speaker takes a decision about the defection last year of six JVM-P MLAs to the BJP.
The hearing on the matter was scheduled on Saturday, but has been put off to June 8.