- Babulal Marandi hopes to play kingmaker in Jharkhand
- JMM-Congress within touching distance of majority mark
- BJP's Raghubar Das says too early to write him off
Babulal Marandi, who hopes to play kingmaker in Jharkhand, said that "no party is untouchable" for him amid reports that he had received feelers from both the ruling BJP and the rival Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress alliance.
The JMM-Congress was within touching distance of the majority mark of 41 in the 81-member assembly while the BJP was at 30-plus.
But the BJP's Chief Minister Raghubar Das insisted that it was too early to write him off. Sources say the party opened talks with Mr Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) early into the counting of votes.
Mr Marandi also said he was in touch with some party leaders, without specifying.
"In politics, no party is untouchable," Mr Marandi told reporters.
He was non-committal when asked whether he was inclined towards the BJP or the Congress.
"The numbers are not too encouraging for us. We were hoping for a much better result. The results are not as per our expectation, but this is a democracy and we will have to accept people''s mandate. We will play the role which people's mandate has given us. Let the results come, then we will sit and discuss what to do," said Mr Marandi, the first Chief Minister of Jharkhand.
He reiterated that he would fight "anti-defection". In 2014, BJP had pulled away six of his lawmakers to touch majority. "After the way BJP tried to finish me and my party, there is no question of joining hands with them,"Mr Marandi was quoted as saying on Sunday.
Mr Marandi quit the BJP in 2006 and formed his own party.