PATNA: Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Tuesday resigned from the Bihar Assembly barely hours before he was formally elected as national president of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) at a meeting of the party’s national executive held here.
As he had been elected on a Janata Dal (United) ticket it was necessary for Manjhi to give up his membership before taking up his new assignment.
“The former Chief Minister was required to sever all his ties with the ruling party to pave the way for his election as party president,” said HAM spokesperson Danish Rizwan, explaining the reason for resignation at the fag end of the current Assembly.
The political party, which was floated by Manjhi a few months ago, had recently joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar.
Taking a different line from the other allies, senior Hindustani Awam Morcha leader and former minister Brishen Patel said, “We would like the saffron party to contest in 122 seats, which is the majority figure in the House, and leave out the rest of the seats to allies to check the move of the grand alliance to bring back ‘Jungle Raj’ in Bihar”.
Incidentally, the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), two key constituents of the BJP- led National Democratic Alliance in Bihar had on Monday issued an ultimatum to the BJP to announce seat-sharing within a week.
Besides, they suggested that the saffron party ought to put up candidtes only in 102 seats like it did in the 2010 state Assembly elections.
Reacting to the move by the other allies’, Manjhi said, “We don’t like to talk through media. We will sit down and jointly discuss these issues.”
Manjhi, who is a Mahadalit, claims that he has wide acceptability among the Dalits, who make up around 15-16 per cent of the state population.
According to Manjhi, who was handpicked by Nitish as his successor before the two fell out, the defeat of Nitish in the coming Assembly elections, was the Hindustani Awam Morcha’s main aim.