With the Bharatiya Janata Party withdrawing support to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led government in Jharkhand, the Congress on Wednesday dropped enough hints to indicate that it is not averse to forming an alternative government in the tribal state.
"There is nobody untouchable in politics," All India Congress Committee in-charge for Jharkhand K Keshava Rao told reporters outside the Parliament.
Speaking on whether the party sticks to its earlier stand -- that it will not form an alliance government in the state with Shibu Soren as the chief minister -- the Congress leader said, "In politics, there is no last word."
Asked whether it means that the Congress was not averse to forming a government in the state, the AICC leader shot back, "We were never averse to it. After all, we contested the election there to form a government."
At the same time, he stated that the party would not make any such move unless it is sure that such a government will be stable.
On Soren voting for the United Progressive Alliance during the cut motion in Parliament on Tuesday, he said, "It came very naturally, very legitimately that he voted for us".
The Congress leader claimed that Soren is a 'part and parcel' of the UPA.
"He (Soren) had a pre-poll alliance with us; he is a part and parcel of the UPA. Two Members of Parliament from JMM support our government at the Centre from outside," Rao said.
The Congress had not formed an alliance government in Jharkhand as it did not agree to Soren becoming the chief minister.
"It does not seem there is any stability even now the way they (BJP and JMM) are running the government. We are keeping a watch on the situation," Rao said.
Asked about reports about the Congress cosying up to Soren to form the next government in Jharkhand, BJP leader Prakash Javdekar said, "Congress is a party which is ever ready to go with any party any time."
Speculation is rife that Soren may have struck a deal with the Congress-led UPA government. Sources said he may bargain for a berth in the Union Cabinet and make his son Hemant Soren the deputy chief minister in Jharkhand.
Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik chief Babulal Marandi may then become the chief minister in a coalition government of the Congress, JMM and JVN-P. In the 82-member Jharkhand assembly, Congress has 14 MLAs, JMM has 18, BJP has 18 and JVM-P has 11 MLAs.
Asked about JMM's support to the government on the cut motions, Hemant Soren claimed that it happened by 'mistake' and made it clear that there was no move to form a government in Jharkhand with Congress backing.
"It's all rumour and has no base," Hemant said when asked about speculation that the JMM will join hands with the Congress and the JVM to form an alternative government in the state.
Stability in governance has eluded the state since it was formed in 2000 and it has seen at least seven governments in the last ten years. The state has also witnessed a year-long spell of President's rule in the past as no government could be formed due to lack of consensus.