Bihar ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM set for split as senior leader claims party is still with NDA
Narendra Singh, a former minister and founder-member of HAM, said Manjhi’s decision to join the RJD-Congress grand alliance was “thoroughly undemocratic” and did not have the consent of a majority.
PATNA: Four days after quitting Bihar’s ruling NDA and joining the RJD-led Opposition alliance, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), led by former CM and Dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, headed for a split on Sunday as one of its senior leaders claimed the party was still with NDA.
Narendra Singh, a former minister and founder-member of HAM, said Manjhi’s decision to join the RJD-Congress grand alliance was “thoroughly undemocratic” and did not have the consent of a majority of the party’s office-bearers. HAM leaders, however, rubbished Singh’s claims and said he had himself ceased to be a member of the three-year-old party,
“HAM is still with NDA. This decision (by Manjhi) was taken unilaterally and is thoroughly undemocratic. Leaders of our party would meet between March 15 and 20 and will take a decision on whether to stay in NDA or quit,” said Singh, a former JD(U) leader who was expelled by the party along with six other ministers in February 2015 for owing allegiance to Manjhi ahead of a trust vote in the Assembly.
Accusing Manjhi of “sacrificing the party’s interests for personal gains,” the upper-caste leader said: “I had gone against Nitish Kumar and supported Manjhi because he (Manjhi) was championing the interests of Dalits. But I and several HAM leaders are against his latest decision, which he took to further his own and his son’s interests”.
Sources close to Singh said hectic efforts were on to gather HAM’s national and state executive members to expel Manjhi and leaders close to him from the party.
“The issue of quitting NDA and joining the grand alliance was placed before all the district presidents and the state executive of the party, and they authorised Manjhi. They all agreed that joining the grand alliance was the need of the times,” said HAM state unit chief and former minister Brishen Patel.
Asserting that Singh was no longer with HAM, Patel said: “Singh had alienated himself from HAM long ago. He was not seen in any meeting of HAM. He has given in writing that he is not a member of HAM”.
“It is bizarre that a leader who is not a part of HAM says he would expel the party’s national president from the party,” added Patel. Manjhi kept watching the developments and chose to keep quiet.