Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) walked out of the RJD-led Grand Alliance in the state on Friday, citing the “ineffective leadership” of Tejashwi Yadav.
On the other hand, the CPI and CPI (M) agreed to participate in a protest rally of alliance partner Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) later this month, signalling the possible entry of the Left into the opposition alliance.
HAM (S) has not been on good terms with the RJD after its candidate in the recent Assembly bypolls from Nathnagar lost to the JD (U) by a slender margin. The RJD had blamed the loss for HAM (S) fielding its candidate. “We had been under pressure from workers to chart our own course,” Manjhi had said.
Influential, yet no results in numbers
As former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi represents the Scheduled Caste community of Musahars, who make up about three percent of the state's population, he brings additional social balance to any combination he joins. The main concern for the Opposition however, is that HAM (S) has not been able to show results in the last two elections. But the party still holds importance as Manjhi is the sole leader of his community.
Confirming the exit, HAM (S) spokesperson Danish Rizwan told The Indian Express: “Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav has been invisible as the main Opposition voice. His leadership is ineffective. He has not been able to take along his alliance partners.”
Rizwan hinted at a fresh tie-up for HAM (S), but ruled out chances of going back to the ruling NDA. After winning just one seat in the Assembly elections in 2015, the party had tied-up with RJD for the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. The alliance however, failed to make an impact. But Manjhi remains an influential leader in the Magadh belts of Gaya and Jehanabad and areas of Purnia and Khagaria.
However, the RLSP confirmed on Friday that it was in talks with the Left. Asked if the participation of the two Left parties in the party’s rally later this month was the first step towards an alliance, RLSP state president (campaign) Jitendra Nath said, “The two Left parties and RLSP have agreed to carry out protests against government failures on several counts. We have been in talks with Left parties to broaden our alliance.”