Jitan Ram Manjhi Will Get Due Respect If He Returns to NDA: BJP
About a week ago, Jitan Ram Manjhi had threatened to boycott polls, or go it alone.
The BJP on Wednesday, 20 February, said former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi would get due respect in the NDA if he chose to return to the coalition which he had walked out of a year ago.
Bihar BJP President Nityanand Rai said this in the backdrop of recent posturing by Manjhi who has been playing hardball for a respectable number of seats within the opposition Mahagathbandhan for his Hindustani Awam Morcha.
We have enormous respect for Manjhi. Even when he left us and joined the Opposition camp, we expressed no bitterness.
If he feels that he is being sidelined in the Mahagathbandhan, let me assure him that he will get due respect in the NDA if he chooses to return, Rai told reporters.
The Bihar BJP president also said the NDA in Bihar has finalised a seat-sharing formula taking into account the parties that are already in the coalition. If more people join us, then things would be reworked.
As per the formula, the BJP and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U) would be contesting 17 seats each, leaving six for Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP. The state has a total number of 40 Lok Sabha constituencies.
The Mahagathbandhan now comprises nearly half a dozen parties, most prominent being RJD and Congress. Manjhi had joined the coalition in February last year and has been squirming over reports that in the upcoming general elections, his party may get a number of seats that might be less than what was offered to some late entrants.
About a week ago, Manjhi had threatened to boycott the polls, or go it alone if his party got one seat less than what was offered to the RLSP, headed by former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha who was with the NDA till two months ago.
A couple of days ago, he upped the ante, saying our party has a larger support base than that of even the Congress and we must get a number of seats that is second only to the RJD.
Manjhi’s son Santosh got elected to the legislative council with the help of RJD, barely a couple of months after HAM became a part of the grand alliance.
The party has, however, been suffering setbacks ever since it walked out of the NDA. One of its senior leaders and former state Minister Narendra Singh joined the JD(U) last year while his state President Vrishan Patel and national Spokesperspn Danish Rizwan resigned earlier this month.
Significantly, leaders of the Mahagathbandhan have so far avoided commenting on the contention of the former chief minister who floated his own party in 2015 after quitting the JD(U) in protest against having been made to step down and make way for the return of Nitish Kumar, who had resigned after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
HAM had fought as an NDA ally in the 2015 Assembly polls, wherein the NDA was trounced by the Mahagathbandhan, which then comprised JD(U), RJD and Congress. The HAM’s performance was dismal, with only Manjhi managing to win one of the two seats he had contested.
Kumar returned to the NDA in July 2017 following corruption allegations against RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who was then his deputy.
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.