Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) supremo Shibu Soren, along with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and All-Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) on Saturday staked claim for the formation of a government in the State, after the election results delivered a fractured mandate.

Pre-empting any possible Congress move, Mr. Soren, along with BJP State unit president Raghubar Das and AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto submitted a list of 41 legislators — 18 from the JMM, 18 from the BJP and five from the AJSU — to Governor K. Sankaranarayanan at the Raj Bhavan here.

The Governor has stated that he would go through the list submitted by Mr. Soren and announce the time for government formation.

The President’s rule is due to end in the State by January 19. The understanding between the parties is that Mr. Soren would be the Chief Minister, while there would be two Deputy Chief Ministers — Mr. Das from the BJP, and Mr. Mahto from the AJSU. Top BJP leaders like Mr. Yashwant Sinha and the former Chief Minister, Arjun Munda, were present when the accord was reached.

The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM) chief Bandhu Tirkey has pledged his support to Mr. Soren and submitted a letter to the Governor, taking the tally of legislators of the BJP-JMM-AJSU combine to 42.

Earlier in the day, the former BJP president, Rajnath Singh, and general secretary Ananth Kumar met Mr. Soren to convey that the BJP was willing to accept him as Chief Minister.

However, the alliance is a rather shaky one, given the BJP’s communal ideology and its active role in pulling down the Soren government in 2005 and its ideological opposition to the JMM’s aggressive pro-tribal preferences.

The JMM’s decision of not going ahead with the Congress alliance is being attributed to the bitter relations between the chief of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha – Prajatantrik, Babulal Marandi, and Mr. Soren.

JD(U) support

PTI reports:

The Janata Dal(U), which has two MLAs, met the Governor late in the night and handed over a letter of support backing Mr. Soren, taking the number of MLAs backing him to 44.