PATNA: Giving a new twist to the Janata Parivar merger move, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Thursday invited former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, a known baiter of JD(U) stalwart and incumbent Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, to join the anti- BJP front in Bihar.
Talking to reporters before leaving for New Delhi to attend Friday’s meeting of the Janata Parivar constituents he said,”We are for a broad unity of parties against the BJP which everybody, including Manjhi should join .” Manjhi had recently floated his own party Hindustani Awam Morch (HAM) with other rebel JD (U) leaders. However, Manjhi rejected the RJD strongman’s proposal saying, “We will not join any alliance which has Nitish in it.We are planning to contest all the243 seats in coming Assembly elections.”
Making the political message more clear, senior RJD leader and former Union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said that all efforts should be made to prevent Manjhi from gravitating towards the BJP.
Lalu’s invitation to Manjhi did not go down well with JD(U), which is keen on formalising the merger ahead of the state Assembly poll due later this year.
State JD(U) president Basistha Narayan Singh said there was “no point” in bringing Manjhi into the picture due to his reported proximity to the BJP.
Vashistha said that Manjhi himself had left the party. On whether he should be inducted into the Janata Parivar, Singh said it is a serious issue that should be left to the JD (U) to solve.
The merger process had recently hit a road block when SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav said,” There is no possibility of the merger of Janata Parivar parties before Bihar Assembly polls due to some technical reasons.” “If we merge in a hurry, it will be like signing the death warrant of our party” he added
This is not for the first time that the RJD is flexing its muscles. Earlier, senior party leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh had demanded 145 of state’s 243 seats for his party inviting sharp reaction from Nitish. In the last Assembly elections, the JD(U) had won 115 seats. Commenting on the prevailing political confusion, former Rajya Sabha MP Shivanand Tewary said,” Lalu still has an option of Manjhi but Nitish doesn’t have any.”
Brishen Patel, a former minister and close aide of Manjhi thanked Lalu for the invite.