Ahead of Bihar Assembly elections, former Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi rejected calls from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to join the Janata Parivar. Manjhi said that his newly formed party – the Hindustani Awam Morcha – will contest on all 243 seats in the state assembly and he will not join any coalition which has Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in it.
Manjhi was expelled from the Janata Dal United for refusing to vacate the chief minister’s post for one-time mentor Nitish Kumar.
Lalu’s invitation to Manjhi is being seen as a ploy to stop Manjhi from joining the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance bandwagon in Bihar. Nitish who had a bitter feud with Manjhi before that latter was ousted as teh Bihar CM, has so far not reacted to Lalu’s move.
Nitish had made Manjhi the CM in May 2014 after JDU’s crushing defeat in Lok Sabha elections. But Manjhi, who belongs to the Mushahar community which belongs to poorest section of the society in the state, started to court controversy soon after taking office by his comments which targeted the upper castes.
He later refused to make way for Nitish Kumar to take over as Bihar CM in early 2015 following which he and his supporters were expelled from the JDU. After claiming the support of a majority of JDU MLAs Manjhi finally refused to seek a vote of confidence and resigned on February 20, 2015.
Nitish Kumar took over as Bihar CM for the fourth time on February 22, 2015.
Bihar is likely to go to elections in September-October 2015. The term of the current Assembly ends on November 29, 2015.
The state will witness a direct contest between the NDA and Janata Parivar of Lalu and Nitish. Aparty from the BJP, the NDA also has Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party.