The Congress is in talks with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) to explore the possibility of forming the next government in Jharkhand, The Sunday Guardian has learnt.

Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, a central leader from the Congress admitted that “some talks are currently on” between the two parties, regarding the formation of the next government. This is in contradiction of the party’s official stand. When asked about it, Congress party spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit said: “Let the Governor’s report come. We are not in discussion about it. The Pradesh Congress Committee will look into it, along with the All India Congress Committee.”

JMM chief Shibu Soren, along with his son and former deputy CM Hemant Soren, met the Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed on Saturday to discuss the possibility of forming the next government.

Earlier this week, another party spokesperson, Rashid Alvi had told this newspaper that the Cabinet was going to look into the Governor’s report and take a call. However, when it was pointed out that the Congress and JMM were discussing the possibility of forming the next government, he did not deny it.

The BJP and the JMM recently decided to end their alliance in the erstwhile government. Arjun Munda, former Chief Minister from the BJP, submitted his resignation to the Jharkhand Governor and asked for the dissolution of the Assembly, followed by fresh elections.

The Governor’s report has caused certain confusion, with media reports claiming that he has asked for President’s rule, while keeping the Assembly in “suspended animation”, although the Jharkhand Raj Bhavan has not made any on-the-record statement regarding the matter. Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde has clarified that the Governor has sent a preliminary report but another report, which will take into account constitutional provisions, is awaited.

The Central level Congress source also pointed out that the Governor was not bound to accept the recommendations made by the outgoing CM. “The Governor does not have to accept his recommendations as they have been made by the CM of a minority government, which is not binding,” he said.

The Congress is hoping that the Governor would invite the JMM for forming the government. “He should at least ask the JMM if they want to form the next government,” said the central leader. The Congress is not very keen on it, but if the numbers add up, the party would not be averse to the possibility, he added.

The central leader also said that the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, led by former Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi, withdrew support to the UPA-2 recently over the FDI issue, thereby making things difficult. The JVM has 11 MLAs.

The RJD, which supports the UPA-2 from outside, has five MLAs and is likely to support the Congress if it decides to be part of the next government. All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) has five MLAs too. However, a close adviser of the AJSU chief and former deputy CM Sudesh Mahato told this newspaper that the party prefers fresh polls.

This would leave the eight Independents, two of whom reportedly met Shakeel Ahmed, Congress in-charge for Jharkhand, recently.

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