Former Bihar chief minister and leader of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) Jitan Ram Manjhi met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah in the capital on Thursday and announced that his party would join the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) alliance ahead of the state Assembly polls.
Speaking to scribes after his meeting with Shah, Manjhi said, “Saath milke ladenge. Abhi seat ke baare mai kuch decide nahi hua hai. (We will fight together. Nothing has been decided on the number of seats.)”
The motivation, Manjhi said, was to ally with BJP ‘to defeat Nitish Kumar’.
Sources said that Manjhi was demanding 50 tickets while the BJP preferred giving only 30 seats to HAM.
Meanwhile, rumours are also rife that Madhepura MP and expelled RJD leader Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav too may seek alliance with the BJP.
The saffron party has been holding talks with other NDA allies over Bihar polls and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha also met Amit Shah in Delhi today.
HAM spokesman Danish Rizwan had informed that Manjhi would meet EC and claim “handpump” symbol for his new party.
With RJD President Lalu Prasad who was initially insisting on inclusion of Manjhi in broad secular front accepting Nitish Kumar as CM candidate of the anti-BJP grouping, doors had been shut for Manjhi and he had been left with the option either to go with BJP-led NDA or enter into fray alone.
Manjhi, who has emerged as a prominent dalit face in the Bihar poll, had three meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi indicating that he was inching closer to the saffron party.
BJP chief Amit Shah and other party leaders have time and again said their options are open for Bihar election and hinted contact with Manjhi who could help them reach out to dalits constituting about 22 per cent of the population in the state.