Joint anti-CAA rally by Jitan Ram Manjhi, Owaisi raises prospect of third front in Bihar

The HAM, led by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, will share a dais with the AIMIM for the first time in Kishanganj on December 29 at a public rally against the CAA and NRC. 

Published: 26th December 2019 01:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2019 01:52 PM   |  A+A-

Jitan Ram Manjhi

Express News Service

PATNA: With the Hindustan Awami Morcha, led by former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, planning to share a dais with the AIMIM for the first time in Kishanganj on December 29 at a public rally against the CAA and NRC, the emergence of a third front in the state cannot be ruled out, say political sources. 

In the recent past, Jitan Ram Manjhi had expressed his displeasure on being not consulted by the RJD on important issues, suggesting that the party is feeling alienated within the Mahagatbandhan, said sources.

After the Kishanganj assembly seat fell vacant when Javed Alam of the Congress was elected to Parliament in May, the AIMIM successfully established a foothold in the state by winning the seat in a bypoll in October, defeating the BJP by 10,024 votes.

Kishanganj is the only district in Bihar where minorities are in majority forming more than 68% of the population. It falls under the Purnia division spread over 1,884 square kilometres.

Speaking to this newspaper, Danish Rizwan, spokesperson of the HAM, said party leaders including Jitan Ram Manjhi and others would be attending the rally.

"As of now, I can't say anything on what this political association would develop into but we are fighting against CAA, NRC and NPR, which are anti-people and anti-Constitution," he said.

Both these parties have one MLA each in the state assembly.

The joint rally will also be attended by AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi and a former IPS officer of the Maharashtra cadre, Abdul Rahman, who had recently resigned in protest against the CAA.

A potential alliance between the HAM and AIMIM ahead of the 2020 Bihar elections could pose a threat to the other fronts, especially the grand alliance.

Chitranjan Gagan, the spokesperson of the RJD, said the HAM's decision to jointly hold a rally with the AIMIM against the CAA did not indicate any kind of alienation in the Mahagatbandhan. 

"Manjhiji has his own way of politics and it doesn't pose a threat to the grand alliance or secular votebanks in the state," he said.

As per official figures, Bihar has a minority population of more than 17% while the Scheduled Caste population is around 16%.

"The coming together of 33% of the population in a third front could dent the votebanks of both the Mahagatbandhan and the NDA," said Dr RK Verma of the Bihar chapter of public administration who researches on poll alliances and their impact on developing states.


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