PATNA: Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi said his party will contesting the Jharkhand elections in collaboration with an NDA ally.
“Our talks with AJSU is in final stages. Seat sharing arrangements will be decided soon. We hope it will be mutually beneficial, and there will be a seamless transfer of votes,” Manjhi told a news agency in Gaya.
“HAM was never a part of the Mahagathbandhan in Jharkhand. We joined the coalition comprising Congress, RJD and others only for Bihar. Beyond the boundaries of the state, the alliance does not exist. So our move should not be seen as betrayal.”
The former Bihar chief minister also declined to comment as to whether he was in talks with leaders of the BJP, the senior NDA partner in Jharkhand.
“Our alliance with AJSU will be taking place mainly because of my ties with its president Sudesh Mahto,” the HAM president said.
At the same time, he denied that the development was a signal of his plans to return to the NDA in Bihar.
Manjhi had floated his own party after walking out of JD(U) in 2015 after he was asked to step down as chief minister to make way for the return of his political mentor Nitish Kumar.
The Mahadalit leader went on to contest the Assembly polls as an NDA constituent, but his party fared poorly.
About six months after Kumar returned to the NDA in July 2017, Manjhi changed track and joined the Mahagathbandhan, which then comprised only the Congress and the RJD.
RJD leader joins JD-U
PATNA: In a jolt to the RJD, Mohammad Ali Asharf Fatmi, who was once considered to be a close political aide of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, joined the JD-U on Sunday. Welcoming Fatmi, JD-U state president Bashisth Narayan Singh said the former Union minister will be a political asset because of his political experience and connect with the people. “Fatmi presence will strengthen the party’s secular credentials and connect with the people. He has profound political experiences,” Singh said.
Support for Azam Khan
PATNA: Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi defended senior SP leader Azam Khan’s remarks against BJP MP Rama Devi, saying they were not taken in the right spirit. “When brothers and sisters, mothers and sons meet and plant a kiss by way of affection, the gesture is not seen as having sexual overtones. Azam Khan’s words are not being taken in the right spirit,” he claimed. Manjhi said the Samajwadi Party MP need not resign but should tender an apology to put an end to the whole controversy.