Jharkhand Mukti Morcha on Friday night claimed the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party and All Jharkhand Students Union to form government in the state with party chief Shibu Soren at its head, but the two parties refused to divulge their cards.
"The BJP and AJSU have agreed to support the JMM under the leadership of Guruji (Soren)," party Vice-President Hemlal Murmu told media persons hours after JMM legislature party elected Soren as its leader and authorised him to explore government formation.
JMM has 18 MLAs, same as that of BJP, and AJSU has five members in the 81-member House. If BJP's ally Janata Dal-United with two MLAs also back JMM's bid to form government, its strength will go up to 43, more than required majority.
The BJP said it would announce a decision on Saturday.
"Our legislative party will meet tomorrow at 11:00 am to elect its leader. Our central leaders Ananth Kumar and Karuna Shukla will be present. Thereafter, we will announce our decision," state BJP President Raghuvar Das said soon after a party meeting, which discussed government formation.
Questioned on JMM's claim that it has the support of the BJP to form the government under the leadership of Shibu Soren, he said: "Let them claim. We are still in a wait and watch mode. A final decision will be announced after the BJP Legislature Party meeting on Saturday. Wait till conclusion of BJP-LP meeting."
AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto refused to comment on JMM's claim of the party's support. Mahto had been minister in three BJP-led NDA governments.
The AJSU also held a meeting to elect its chief Sudesh Mahato as leader of its legislature party.
"All five MLAs, including Mahto, attended the AJSU-LP meeting and authorised him to initiate talks with like-minded persons," a senior party leader told newsmen after the meeting.
Senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh and Ananth Kumar joined Karuna Shukla in Ranchi to help the state party firm up its stand on government formation.
The Congress, which ran into Shibu Soren's insistence on chief ministership, said it was not in a hurry to initiate talks for government formation in Jharkhand and disapproved of any precondition, a stand similar to that of its ally JVM(P).
"Soren is insisting for CM's post. Imposing any pre-condition is not good in the process of dialogue," AICC in-charge of the state K Keshav Rao told PTI on Friday.
Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik said it has discussed with Congress the issue of forming an alliance government without JMM, which was resorting to "politics of conditions".
JVM (P), which has 11 seats, has left the issue of deciding the leader of the alliance government in the state to Congress, which it said was the bigger party in the tie-up.