Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren on Saturday claimed support of more than 41 MLAs -- the simple majority mark in the 81-member assembly-- to form an alternative government in Jharkhand before the term of President's Rule expires on July 18.
"Jharkhand Mukti Morcha has 18 MLAs, Congress 13 and RJD 5, totaling 36. Some independent MLAs have already extended full support to us. So we have support of more than 41 MLAs," Soren told reporters in Ranchi after returning from New Delhi.
Soren, who is tipped to be the chief minister in the new dispensation in the tribal state, has already got letters of support from independent MLAs Harinarayan Rai, Bandhu Tirkey, Chamra Linda and Bidesh Singh, sources in JMM said.
The other two independent MLAs are Gita Koda, wife of former chief minister Madhu Koda who is in jail on graft charges, and Enos Ekka.
"A few more steps away. The government will be formed only after getting the list of majority MLAs," Soren said.
When asked whether two JMM MLAs, Nalin Soren and Sita Soren, would turn up to vote during floor test, he said "you\ will know when time comes."
Both the MLAs have been evading police for questioning in connection with separate corruption charges and the high court has pulled up the state administration for failing to arrest them.
Soren said, "I have met Congress leader B K Hariprasad and RJD chief Lalu Prasad and got firm assurances from them in the JMM's bid to establish a democratic set up in the state.
"We'll discuss with allies and also appeal to all other political parties in the state to rise above political lines and make way for a democratic set up in the interest of the state," he said.
On who would be inducted in the ministry, he said, "Let the government be formed and then the names will be announced."
Soren also said the JMM had been pitching for a new government ever since it withdrew support to the BJP-led government on January 8, leading to central rule on January 18.
"We respect people's mandate," he said.
Image: JMM leader Hemant Soren