Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has said that his Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) will not settle for anything less than “one seat more” than what the smaller constituents of the Grand Alliance — the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), the Vikasshil Insaan Party (VIP), and the Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) — are offered to contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Manjhi’s defiant stand is one of reasons for the delay in a consensus on seat-sharing among the Grand Alliance: he is reportedly upset that he has been offered just one seat — Gaya — to contest in the polls.
The former CM told reporters on Monday: “We were the first party to join hands with the RJD in the Grand Alliance. Soon after we joined, RJD won the Jehananad and Jokihqt Assembly and Araria Lok Sabha bypolls. It is because the Scheduled Caste votes were consolidated.”
Manjhi said there had been “no open talks” with RJD chief Lalu Prasad on seat-sharing.
Asked about his party’s announcement of contesting 20 seats, he said: “Our party would first wait to see what RJD offers. But one thing is for sure – we want one more seat that what parties other than the RJD and the Congress in the Grand Alliance get,” referring to the RLSP, VIP, and the LJD.
Manji’s statement comes amidst speculations of the former CM rejoining the NDA fold, or even contesting independently. The former CM earlier said that his “mass base” is more than that of RLSP leader Upendra Kushwaha.