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Jitam Ram Manjhi quits NDA, set to join ‘Mahagathbandhan’

In signs of an impending split in the ruling coalition in Bihar, HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi had on Sunday expressed unhappiness on his party being overlooked for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: February 28, 2018 3:41:50 pm
HAM chief Jitam Ram Manjhi quits NDA Former Bihar Chief Minister and HAM chief Jitan Ram Manjhi (File photo)

Hindustani Awam Morcha chief and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), HAM spokesperson Danish Rizwan said. Speaking to The Indian Express, Rizwan said Manjhi will join hands with the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance comprising of RJD and Congress) in the state.

This development came after Manjhi met Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav at his residence in the state capital. News agency ANI also quoted Tejashwi as saying that Manjhi had joined the grand alliance.

In signs of an impending split in the ruling coalition in Bihar, Manjhi had on Sunday expressed unhappiness on his party being overlooked for the upcoming Rajya Sabha elections. The former chief minister had demanded that HAM be allotted one Rajya Sabha seat, failing which the party would not support the BJP-led coalition in the next one Lok Sabha and two Assembly by-polls.

“The NDA must announce at least one Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader among its candidates for the six Rajya Sabha seats in Bihar. If that does not happen, our party workers will not campaign for candidates of the coalition in the by-polls,” PTI had quoted Manjhi as saying.

The Rajya Sabha election is slated for March 23. The by-polls for Araria Lok Sabha seat and Jahanabad and Bhabhua Assembly seats are scheduled to be held on March 11. Manjhi said his party had been putting in long hours and working tirelessly towards strengthening the NDA footprints in Bihar. “But as the saying goes – even a mother does not feed her child until he or she cries and demands attention,” he said.

Manjhi had formed HAM after walking out of the JD(U) in protest against the alleged pressure to step down as chief minister in 2015 and make way for the return of Nitish Kumar. He had fought the Assembly polls held the same year as part of the NDA which lost to the Grand Alliance.

Recently, the former CM had expressed the wish that his party be allowed to contest by-poll from Jahanabad Assembly seat but withdrew the demand following alleged cold response from the BJP. The seat is now being contested by the JD(U), which had initially announced that it would not contest any of the three seats going for by-polls.

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