Manjhi rejects Lalu's offer, says no scope in Janata Parivar

Manjhi rejects Lalu's offer, says no scope in Janata Parivar

Bihar former chief ministerJitan Ram Manjhi on Thursday rejected Lalu Prasad’s offer to join the Janata Parivar saying he has no scope in any alliance that includes Nitish Kumar.

Manjhi, the first Mahadalit to be Bihar Chief Minister, responded just hours after Lalu had made the offer to join the secular forces so that “the BJP could be shown its place in the ensuing Bihar elections.”

A few days ago, the BJP had said it would align with Manjhi than with Nitish and the former Cm reciprocated by singing the praises of Prime Minister Modi.

Anxious to ensure Manjhi and his Mahadalit votebank remained with his grand alliance, Lalu made an open offer for him to join the secular alliance on Thursday.

Despite drubbings in the polls in recent times, Lalu has his votebank in tact and knows the 15 per cent Dalits and Mahadalit votes make a crucial difference in the October-November elections.

Should the Janata Parivar garner the 15 per cent Dalit votes on top of the 15 per cent Muslims, 14 per cent Yadavs and 25 per cent EBCs, it would all but ensure the grand alliance sweeping the polls.

Lalu is painfully aware that the numbers could swiftly reverse should Manjhi cast his lots with the BJP and the NDA.

Aware of the hot demand from the secular alliance, the Manjhi tried driving a hard bargain on Thursday. “Lalu ji should first disassociate himself with Nitish, and then propose Manjhi’s name as the chief ministerial candidate for the Bihar Assembly polls,” Mahachandra Singh, who was minister in the Manjhi cabinet, said.

Brishen Patel, another former minister, echoed his views. “We are ready to align with Lalu ji, provided he proposes Manjhi’s name for the CM’s post,” Patel said.

Lalu, barred from contesting elections for six years following his conviction in the fodder scam, is privately unhappy about the prospect of Nitish being projected as the chief ministerial candidate.

He has however refrained from airing his views in public anxious not to rock the boat within the Janata Parivar alliance.

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