Other States

Manjhi’s HAM(S) joins NDA

Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi  

In a sudden move, former Bihar Chief Minister and president of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) (HAM-S) Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday announced that his party has become a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). 

Mr. Manjhi was to announce the same on Thursday. 

“From today, my party has become a part of the NDA in Bihar…earlier, I was to announce it on Thursday but I thought there should not be any delay in good work”, he said in a hurriedly called press meet at his official residence in Patna.

Mr. Manjhi made it clear that his party would not “merge” with the JD(U) as speculated but would be a part of the NDA as an ally. He said, “I’ve also not demanded any number of seats for the forthcoming assembly elections in the State… when a mutual understanding between us has reached then, I think, there should not be any talk of any demand…me and my party workers will put in all strength to make Nitish Kumar chief minister again”, he asserted.

Mr. Manjhi slammed the ‘mahagathbandhan’ constituents, the RJD and Congress, for not meeting his demand of forming a coordination committee for a long time.

“They kept dilly-dallying on my demand and then we decided to severe our ties with ‘mahagathbandhan’,” he said. 

HAM(S) will be the fourth alliance partner of NDA in Bihar.

‘Message from CM’s house’

Sources in the party told The Hindu that Mr. Manjhi had to rush to Patna on Wednesday from his native place Mahakar in Gaya district on some “express massage” from the Chief Minister’s house. “The message from CM’s house preponed the plan”, said a party source. 

However, others said, “Since tomorrow the inauspicious period of pitripaksha begins, Mr. Manjhi made this announcement today itself”.

HAM(S) leader and spokesperson Danish Rizwan had told The Hindu over phone, “Yes, we’ll be joining NDA tomorrow [Thursday] in Patna and our party president Jitan Ram Manjhi ji would announce it formally. 

On August 27, Mr. Manjhi met Mr. Kumar and since then the talk of his joining the ruling NDA has been doing the rounds in the State’s political circle. 

Mr Manjhi is the lone member of his party in the state assembly. He was made the Chief Minister in May 2014 after the JD(U) faced a crushing defeat in the Lok Sabha poll and Mr. Kumar had resigned on moral ground. However, Mr. Manjhi had to step down from the post of Chief Minister in 2015 to make way for the return of Mr Kumar. He later formed the HAM(S) and contested the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections as an NDA constituent, but with the return of Mr. Kumar to the NDA in July 2017, Mr. Manjhi parted ways to join hands with the ‘mahagathbandhan’. 

May get 7 to 9 seats from JD(U) 

 Party sources told The Hindu that the HAM(S) may get seven to nine seats from the JD(U) quota in the coming polls that is due in October-November.

The seats the party is likely to get are Barachatti, Imamganj, Kutumba, Makhdumpur, Rajauli, Atari, Tekari, Sursand and Purnea. 

Mr. Manjhi rejoining the NDA is being seen as an electoral boost for the ruling alliance’s outreach to Dalits, who are 16% of the total electorate in the State.

RJD leader and party spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari said, “Manjhi ji ko NDA mein jaana tha, coordination committee to ek bahana tha [Manjhi ji had to go to NDA and he was taking excuse over formation of a coordination committee]”. 

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 6:11:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/former-bihar-chief-minister-manjhis-party-to-join-nda-on-sept-3/article32501850.ece

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