New Delhi: Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday announced that his party, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) has become a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) by joining the Janata Dal (United) ahead of the upcoming Bihar assembly polls. Also Read - Bihar Assembly Election 2020: PM Modi Endorses Nitish Kumar, Gives Him Pat on The Back For 'Sushasan'; Makes Veiled Attack on Lalu
If reports are to be believed, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar played the lead role in bringing his former rival into the ruling alliance. Also Read - Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Polls to be Fought Under Nitish Kumar's Leadership, Says Nadda, Discusses Seat-sharing With CM
“We have forged an alliance with Janata Dal (United) & have become a part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). There has been no discussion about seat-sharing in the next Bihar Assembly elections,” Manjhi told reporters. Also Read - Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Ram Vilas Paswan Unwell, Tasks Son Chirag to Take Final Call on Alliance
The expected re-entry of Manjhi has, however, added to disquiet within NDA constituent Lok Janshakti Party, which has called a meeting of its state parliamentary board next week.
Chirag Paswan-led LJP’s relations with Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) has long been far from smooth and according to reports, the recent development has pulled the allies further apart. The LJP said that it may put up its candidates against the JD(U) and a discussion regarding the same will be held during a board meeting on September 7.
“We are definitely considering putting up our candidates in seats where the JD(U) will contest,” said an LJP leader. Meanwhile, Paswan declined to comment on the matter but added that his party will take its decisions at an appropriate time.
The Paswan-headed party has so far refrained from targeting the BJP and has been even praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership while keeping Kumar in its crosshairs.
“I am focused on preparing my party for the polls. Whatever decisions are to be taken in the interest of my party will be taken at an appropriate time,” he told PTI.
Manjhi, who comes from Scheduled Castes like Paswan, has a history of attacking the LJP leadership in his bid to project himself as a leader of Dalits in the state.
The LJP believes that Kumar has brought Manjhi in the NDA to corner it as it has been the main party identified with Dalits in the alliance.
The BJP has so far refused to take sides in the feud between the two parties and played down their differences, insisting that the NDA is intact and will fight the assembly polls, expected in October-November, together.
The JD(U), on the other hand, has claimed that its alliance has been traditional with the BJP, and it will not directly engage with the LJP over the distribution of seats.
Notably, the BJP, which is the primary NDA constituent, has already announced that Kumar will be the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate, even as Manjhi’s entry in the NDA has added to LJP’s pique against the JD(U).
There is likely to be much heartburn in the alliance during the seat-sharing talks among its partners for the elections to the 243-seat assembly.