Hindustani Awam Morcha led by Jitan Ram Manjhi join the BJP-led NDA ahead of Bihar Assembly election.
The Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) led by Jitan Ram Manjhi is all set to join the BJP-led NDA in Bihar, news agency ANI reported. Manjhi quit the grand alliance of opposition parties last month following differences with the RJD.
HAM will become the fourth constituent of the NDA. The three are — JD(U), BJP and LJP. The decision has come as a boost for the NDA just ahead of the October-November Assembly elections in the state.
“Jitan Ram Manjhi will be making an official announcement on Thursday regarding Hindustani Awam Morcha joining the NDA. Our party is not merging with JDU but we will be joining NDA as a separate entity. We will carry forward the developmental work done by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar,” HAM spokesperson Danish Rizwan said.
Jitan Ram Manjhi was once considered Nitish Kumar’s ‘Man Friday’. He floated HAM in 2015 after he was expelled from the Janata Dal (United) following a rebellion. Nitish had hand-picked Manjhi as his successor in 2014 after JDU’s loss in the general elections. The JD(U) had contested 2014 elections alone. It had won only two of the 40 parliamentary seats in Bihar.
Manjhi joined the BJP-led NDA minus Nitish Kumar ahead of the 2015 Assembly elections. The alliance couldn’t perform well in the election and the JD(U)-RJD-Congress alliance formed the government with a brute majority. After Nitish’s exit from the grand alliance in 2017 and subsequent return to the NDA, Manjhi sided with the RJD-led alliance. The opposition parties — RJD, Congress, HAM, RLSP and VIP contested the 2019 general elections together, but won just 1 seat.
Manjhi was the first leader from the opposition camp to press for a leadership change and openly questioned Tejashwi Yadav’s projection as the grand alliance’s CM face for 2020 Assembly polls.
Manjhi is a Mahadalit and has a strong base among the backward communities. His return to the NDA is a gain for the ruling alliance as it looks to consolidate the EBC votes. Ram Vilas Paswan is the another Dalit leader which the NDA has in its camp.