Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Shibu Soren on Monday flew down here to firm up the alliance with the former arch-rival, Bharatiya Janata Party. Both parties have promised a stable and clean government in Jharkhand.

While in the past the BJP targeted Mr. Soren for corruption, now party president Nitin Gadkari, at a press conference here with Mr. Soren, said the people of Jharkhand had given the JMM a mandate for stability and development.

On Wednesday, Mr. Soren will be sworn in as Chief Minister for the third time, along with Deputy Chief Ministers Raghubar Das from the BJP and Sudesh Mahto from the All-Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).

“We will also announce a common minimum programme which will be formulated for the development of Jharkhand,” said Mr. Gadkari.

Speaking to the press, Mr. Soren said Jharkhand was a mineral-rich State but its people were poor. It was time the benefits of development went to the people. He said he was confident this time that the BJP would not let them down, and things would not be controlled by New Delhi. “We want to work for the people and everyone will realise that some good will come of this government. Even the Opposition will get to know that this alliance is a different government.”

Mr. Gadkari said the government had the support of 45 MLAs till now, including two from the Janata Dal (United), five from the AJSU and Independents. The BJP and the JMM won 18 seats each in the 81-member Assembly.

Defending the decision to back the JMM, Mr. Gadkari said it was the Congress which corrupted Mr. Soren by giving him money, and the root of corruption lay with that party. The High Court had given Mr. Soren a clean chit and the people of Jharkhand also favoured the JMM.

Unanimous decision

To a question on the criticism by BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy against the alliance, Mr. Gadkari said the decision to back the JMM was unanimous. Earlier, Mr. Gadkari met Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray at his residence to seek his blessings on his becoming BJP president.