Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) chief Babulal Marandi met Congress President Sonia Gandhi here on Friday signalling that an alliance was on the cards between the two parties for the coming Assembly elections.

After a 30-minute meeting with Ms. Gandhi, the former Jharkhand Chief Minister sped past waiting reporters, but leaders of JVM as also state Congress hinted that a tie-up has been finalised.

Mr. Marandi’s meeting with Ms. Gandhi came close on the heels of her consultations with AICC incharge of Jharkhand K Keshav Rao and AICC General Secretary Mukul Wasnik. Wasnik is Chairman of the AICC’s screening committee for Jharkhand elections.

Congress had announced the names of 49 candidates while JVM has announced the names of nine candidates so far for the 81-member House.

Mr. Marandi, considered as a person with clean image, had headed a BJP Government but parted ways with that party soon after his removal from the post.

Sources in the two parties said Congress has deliberately not announced its candidates for most of those seats being demanded by Mr. Marandi to leave ample scope for an alliance even at a later stage.