Ranchi: Former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi was on Monday unanimously elected as leader of the BJP Legislative Party.
Marandi had on February 17 merged his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) (JVM-P) party with the BJP at a formal merger ceremony in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah here.
BJP's national general secretary Arun Singh told a press conference that Marandi was elected to the post by all the party MLAs.
He said legislators will give a letter to the office of Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahato regarding election of Marandi as the Leader of the BJP-LP following which the JVM-P leader will be announced Leader of the Opposition in the 81-member House.
Singh said Marandi's name was proposed by MLA Anant Kumar Ojha, approved by MLAs Nilkanth Singh Munda and Biranchi Narayan, and supported by Kedar Hazra.
He said the MLAs elected their leader on the call of the party's central observer Muralidhar Rao. In all, 25 BJP MLAs were present. MLA Dullhu Mahto could not come, Singh added. "Everyone is happy on Marandi's return to the party-fold," he added.
BJP national vice-president Om Prakash Mathur, state unit president Laxman Gilua, MP Sunil Singh and state unit general secretary Deepak Prakash were present in the meeting, Singh said.
Marandi headed the first BJP government in the state in 2000. He, however, quit the party following differences with the party leadership and floated JVM-P in 2006.
The saffron party had not elected its Legislative Party leader after the state polls in November-December last year. With the arrival of Marandi, the BJP's number has swelled to 26 in the Jharkhand Assembly. The ruling JMM-Congress-RJD has a combined strength of 47 in the House.