The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which has been threatened by withdrawal of support by its ally the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is divided on whether to stick with the BJP or go with the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA).
Chief Minister Shibu Soren has written to BJP president Nitin Gadkari apologising for voting for the UPA government in the cut motions for the federal budgetary proposals. But many party leaders differ in their view on which camp to side with.
"Soren has expressed his view by voting in favour of the UPA. Soren has not made any public statement to contradict his view. We will go with Soren's move to support the UPA," Simon Marandi, a senior JMM leader and legislator, told reporters here Friday.
Soren has been away from the public view ever since the vote Tuesday and his son, Hemant Soren, is dealing with the political fallouts. This seems to have not gone down well with senior party leaders.
"Hemant Soren is only son of Shibu Soren and not our leader," Marandi said. "There is no question of supporting NDA (BJP-led National Democratic Alliance). We will support a UPA-led government in Jharkhand."
Echoing the view, JMM legislator Teklal Mahto said: "We want a UPA CM (chief minister) in Jharkhand, not an NDA CM."
Hemant Soren met Marandi and tried to pacify him, but the latter refused to change his stand.
The BJP parliamentary board meeting in New Delhi Friday decided to put on hold the decision to withdraw support from the JMM in a bid to give another shot at saving the alliance.
"We received two letters from the leadership of JMM. One was from Shibu Soren in which he appealed that in the interest of the poorer sections of the society of Jharkhand, the state should not be pushed to Congress misrule," BJP general secretary Ananth Kumar said.
"On April 29, we received another letter from Hemant Soren which said that the JMM was ready for a government headed by the BJP," he said.
In BJP's state unit too there are varied opinions on the alliance.
"JMM will ditch the BJP any moment. The BJP cannot even sail through the trust vote if it forms the government. The BJP should allow JMM to lead the government but the chief minister should change," a BJP leader told IANS on condition of anonymity.