Former Jharkhand chief minister Babulal Marandi turned down an offer from the BJP to merge with his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Democratic) that won 8 seats in the assembly polls.
On Saturday - a day before Raghubar Das was sworn in as the tenth CM of Jharkhand - BJP chief Amit Shah met Marandi in Delhi to explore possibilities of a merger, but failed to convince him. Marandi, a source told HT, was keen to join the government provided his party was given two ministerial berths.
With 37 MLAs, the BJP emerged as the single largest party in Jharkhand but remains dependent on the support of 5 legislators of AJSU Party for majority in the 81-member assembly. If it merges with the JMM - the third largest party in the state - the BJP can reach 41 seats on its own. "Marandi has promised to get back to us. We are hoping of a positive outcome," a BJP leader said.
There are seven berths lying vacant in the Jharkhand government after Sundays's swearing in.
An expansion of Das's team is expected after there is clarity on the Marandi's decision.