PATNA: HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi, whose decision to share the stage with AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi in Kishanganj had irked his allies in the state, on Saturday announced that he will be giving the Sunday rally a miss as he will attend Hemant Soren's oath-taking ceremony.
Manjhi, a former Bihar chief minister and founding president of the Hindustani Awam Morcha, said his decision followed a call from Soren, who sought his "blessings" at the swearing-in function, which is expected to be attended by a large number of political figures opposed to the BJP-led NDA.
"After Sorens call, I thought Jharkhand is an adjacent state and the ceremony will be of political significance since many chief ministers and senior political leaders are likely to attend. They all are on the same page as myself when it comes to opposition to the CAA, NRC and NPR. So I have decided not to visit Kishanganj but go to Ranchi instead", he said here.
The change in tack by Manjhi, whose party is a constituent of the five-party Grand Alliance in Bihar, is likely to defuse the ongoing controversy that had erupted over his decision to share the stage with the Hyderabad MP whom RJD and Congress the two major alliance partners have dubbed as "B team of the BJP".
Earlier, on Friday, Manjhi had sought to strike a defiant note insisting that he was going to Kishanganj since he felt he must throw his weight behind all struggles against CAA, NRC and NPR and it did not matter who attended these events.
On Saturday, Manjhi also toned down his belligerence against the RJD, whose chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav has been in his crosshairs for some time and said while in Ranchi he would try to meet the latters father Lalu Prasad, who is serving sentences in fodder scam cases.
"I will try to meet Lalu ji to discuss the political situation", said Manjhi when asked about NDA leaders raising objections over political leaders allegedly flouting the jail manual to meet the ailing RJD founder whose political stock seems to have risen with the victory of the JMM-led coalition of which his party was a part.
Manjhi reiterated that his opposition to CAA, NRC and NPR was on account of these putting the onus on people to prove their citizenship which could adversely affect the poor. "I give my example. I hail from a poor family. I can tell about my place of birth. But if I am asked where my father and grandfather were born, then I have no idea leave alone documentary evidence of their places of birth", he said.
"So we can imagine how tough it would be for the ordinary folks. Moreover, we fear that the NPR and the NRC which the government seems to be working on without admitting to it may lead to those without documents being stripped of citizenship and, as a consequence, of all facilities and welfare benefits that they may be entitled to as citizens", Manjhi added.