Jitan Ram Manjhi
Mahachandra Prasad Singh, the aide of former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi whose reported meeting with with RJD chief Lalu Prasad in Delhi led to speculations about the rumblings in the NDA over seat-sharing talks, on Sunday denied that any such meeting took place. He alleged that some elements in the Grand Alliance of RJD-JD(U)-Congress were “trying to create confusion” in the NDA.
“The last time I met Lalu Prasad was several months ago after the death of former chief minster Ram Sunder Das. It is true that I had gone to Delhi, but it was for attending a meeting of NDA leaders over the seat sharing. It is quite possible that some people from the opponent camp have been trying to create confusion,” Singh told The Indian Express.
It was reported earlier that Singh had met Prasad in Delhi to explore option of joining hands with the RJD in case the seat-sharing talks with the NDA fail. HAM (Secular), formed by Manjhi after he quit JD(U), reportedly wants to contest 40 seats in the upcoming Bihar elections.
Asked about the status of seat-sharing talks, Singh said: “I cannot divulge the full details, but initial rounds of talks with top NDA leaders have taken place.” He added that his party was an NDA constituent and had nothing to do with the RJD.
But within HAM (Secular), leaders are sharply divided over giving “any overt and indirect overtures to Lalu Prasad” at this stage.
“This will affect the credibility of Manjhi as NDA partner. If there is any such move to explore the RJD option, it will not be good for Manjhi because of trust-deficit factor,” said a HAM (Secular) leader. Another said that were some leaders in the Manjhi camp who are in favour of an alliance with the RJD.
Sources said that there was disquiet within the NDA allies after they realised that BJP is in no mood to concede more than 80 to 85 seats to its three alliance partners — LJP, RLSP and HAM (Secular).