Ranchi: Four Jharkhand MLAs joined the BJP on Wednesday, giving the state's ruling party a shot in the arm ahead of the Assembly polls later this year.
Those who switched sides included Sukhdeo Bhagat and Manoj Yadav of the Congress, Kunal Sarangi of the JMM and Independent MLA Bhanu Pratap Sahi, party sources said. They were inducted into the BJP in the presence of Chief Minister Raghubar Das.
Another JMM MLA Jaiprakash Bhai Patel, who was also tipped to join the saffron party, did not turn up, they said.
With the induction of the four lawmakers, the BJP's strength in the 81-member House has risen to 47.
While Bhagat, a former Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee president, represents Lohardaga constituency, Yadav was elected from Darkatha seat.
Sarangi had won from Baragorah constituency and Sahi is a two-time MLA from Bhavnathpur seat.
Sarangi’s father Dinesh Sarangi was also a minister in the erstwhile BJP-led NDA governments of Babulal Marandi and Arjun Munda.
Former Jharkhand police chief Dinesh Kumar Pandey, who retired from service this year, and former IAS officer Suchitra Sinha also joined the party.
Welcoming the MLAs and former civil servants into the party, the chief minister said they joined the BJP as they were influenced by the party's ideology of 'Sab ka saath, sab ka Vikas'.
"All these people have joined the BJP to give a stable government in the interest of society and the state. They believe in the BJPs ideology, which is a happy message to the state, as the people of the country and the state have rejected dynastic politics," Das said.
The BJP has often targeted the Congress and the JMM over "dynastic politics".
BJPs Jharkhand Election co-in-charge Nand Kishore Yadav, who is a cabinet minister in Bihar, former Union minister Jayant Sinha and the party’s state unit president Laxman Gilua were also present at the event.
In February 2015, six Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) MLAs had joined the BJP.
Elections to the state Assembly are likey in November- December.
The Raghubar Das-led government will be the first to complete a full term in office since the state was carved out of Bihar on November 15, 2000.