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Three more RJD MLAs join JD(U) in Bihar

Mahagathbandhan ally Jitan Ram Manjhi is expected to take a final decision on his next political move.

Mahagathbandhan ally Jitan Ram Manjhi is expected to take a final decision on his next political move.

Ahead of the State Assembly elections, three more Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MLAs, including Lalu Prasad’s relative Chandrika Rai, on Thursday joined the ruling party Janata Dal-United (JD-U). The ‘Grand Alliance’ ally and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAM-S), too, took the decision to quit the alliance.

The three RJD MLAs who joined the JD(U) at the party headquarters are — Chandrika Rai (Parsa Assembly constituency), who is also the father-in-law of RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav; Jaivardhan Yadav alias Baccha Yadav (Paliganj); and Faraz Fatmi (Keoti).

Earlier, Mr. Fatmi was expelled from the RJD and was set to join JD(U), along with two other expelled RJD MLAs, but since he was not in Patna, he could not do so. Mr. Fatmi is the son of former Union minister and RJD leader M.A.A. Fatmi who, last year, had joined the JD(U) after being denied a party ticket from the Darbhanga Lok Sabha constituency. Mr. Fatmi has represented the Darbhanga LS seat four times.

Jaivardhan Yadav alias Baccha Yadav is the grandson of former Union minister and famous Yadav caste leader of the State, Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav.

Earlier, on August 17, three RJD MLAs — Maheshwar Prasad Yadav (Gaighat), Prema Chaudhury (Patepur) and Dr. Ashok Kumar (Sasaram) — had switched their loyalty to the JD(U).

In poll-bound Bihar, a Minister in Nitish Kumar cabinet and senior JD(U) leader Shyam Rajak had joined the RJD on the same day. Mr. Rajak, though, was earlier in the RJD and a minister in the previous regimes led by Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi. However, in 2009, he had quit the RJD to join the JD(U) and was inducted in the State Cabinet in 2017, when Nitish Kumar formed the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government after joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) again. Mr. Rajak has returned to the RJD after 11 years.

HAM(S) leaves

Meanwhile, the disgruntled mahagathbandhan alliance partner and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led HAM(S), in the party’s core committee meeting on Thursday took the decision to end ties with the ‘Grand Alliance’.

“In the party’s core committee meeting today, a decision was taken to end ties with the mahagathbandhan . HAM(S) will no longer be a constituent of the ‘Grand Alliance’,” said party spokesperson Danish Rizwan.

He also added, “What will be party’s future course of action and with which alliance is left on party chief Jitan Ram Manjhi to decide.” Mr Rizwan, however, asserted that his party would not “merge” with any other party.

For a long time, Mr. Manjhi has been demanding the formation of a coordination committee in the ‘Grand Alliance’ to decide seat-sharing for the upcoming poll. However, his demand was not met and he has been feeling disgruntled in the alliance since, according to sources.

Sources said Mr. Manjhi, a Mahadalit leader with electoral influence in some constituencies of central Bihar, is likely to hop on to the ruling NDA alliance in the State for a harder political bargain in terms of Assembly seats to contest. Party sources told The Hindu that HAM(S) may get seven-nine seats from the JD(U) quota to contest the upcoming Assembly election in the NDA formation.

But the NDA’s Mahadalit face — the Lok Janshakti Party and its president Chirag Paswan — have often been attacking JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar and his government on several issues. “If Mr. Manjhi comes to the NDA flock, it will be interesting to see how the ruling NDA manages both the Mahadalit leaders — Mr. Manjhi and Chirag Paswan — in the same block,” political analyst Ajay Kumar told The Hindu .

The Assembly elections in the State are due in October-November later this year.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2022 1:23:28 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/three-more-rjd-mlas-may-join-ruling-jdu-in-bihar/article32400229.ece