At a time when political uncertainty prevails in the state after continuing JMM flip-flops, former BJP chief minister Babulal Marandi, who now runs his own political outfit Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), is busy building support with a massive two-day party conclave.
His calculation: elections are bound to happen early whether the BJP and JMM cooperate or not, and he wants a bigger footprint this time.
His 11 MLAs are still a crucial chunk in a badly fractured Assembly.
"I had planned my party's massive conclave around this time to build my base further, as I did not expect the JMM-BJP government to last more than a year," Marandi told HT.
"But they have proved to be far more unstable."
Why won't he support a possible Congress-led government after having gone with the UPA in the Lok Sabha?
"I went with them to dispel rumours that I would eventually rejoin the BJP," he said.
"But now I want to consolidate alone."
Marandi had recently met JMM leader Hemant Soren — whose party has been flirting for 25 days even after pledging support to a BJP chief minister — who had come to seek his support for a JMM government.
Instead, Marandi asked that JMM support a JVM(P) chief minister — meaning Marandi himself.
If the JMM's 18 MLAs and JVM (P)'s 11 MLAs come together, support from the Congress will be enough.
Obviously, Hemant was not enthusiastic about this. So, Marandi gave Soren two other advices, saying he would sit in the Opposition: Either form a government with JMM, Congress, RJD and AJSU — which would not wean away the minorities from JMM — or support the BJP, in which case, JMM would lose minority support.