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Stage Set for Showdown in Bihar

By supporting Manjhi, the saffron party is looking at the Mahadalit votes in the state to counter the RJD-JD(U) combine’s formidable caste combination.

Published: 20th February 2015 06:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2015 07:20 AM   |  A+A-

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi Photo PTI

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi (PTI/File)

NEW DELHI: With the BJP deciding to throw its weight behind Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi during Friday’s trust vote, the stage is set for a showdown.

By supporting Manjhi, the saffron party is looking at the Mahadalit votes in the state, a decisive votebank they would need whenever elections are held in state, to counter the RJD-JD(U) combine’s formidable caste combination.

“We will support Manjhi, so that whenever the elections are held in the state, we would like the Mahadalit electorate to remember that we supported someone from their caste,” a senior BJP leader said here.

However, the proceedings of the Assembly session for trust vote are likely to be full of fireworks, with some even fearing chaotic scenes in the House. With caste-ridden politics the driving force in the state, both sides -- Manjhi-BJP and the RJD-JD(U) -- will not let the other side walk away easily.

With the support of the 87-MLA-strong BJP, Manjhi needs the support of 30 more MLAs to win the trust vote. However, Nitish has claimed the support of 130 MLAs.

A day before the trust vote, the BJP and the JD(U) attacked each other here.

“Eversince we left the NDA, the BJP is viewing us as an enemy. We do not have any objection to that... We will fight. We will fight an electoral battle. The Centre, which is supposed to govern as per the Constitution, has trampled upon democratic values,” JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav said. 

Sharad alleged that the BJP had become “desperate” and “restless” and wanted to impose the President’s Rule in Bihar. He also accused the BJP of trying to lure the JD(U) legislators and MLAs from its alliance partners.

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