Manjhi to go with BJP in Bihar

Manjhi to go with BJP in Bihar

Pitched against united Janata Parivar in the Bihar Assembly polls, the BJP on Thursday expanded the NDA to have alliance with the Hindustani Awam Morcha floated by former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

The announcement came after Manjhi met BJP president Amit Shah, who weeks ago had indicated that the party was not averse to having truck with Manjhi for the toughest battle the ruling alliance will face since Narendra Modi came to power last May. The tie-up is an attempt to reach out to politically crucial Mahadalits who constituted more than 20 per cent of population.

"In Bihar, an unholy alliance between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad has been formed...I spoke to Amit Shah in this context. We have to work together to prevent Lalu and Nitish from coming to power," Manjhi told reporters here.

Other than the morcha, Lok Jansatta Party and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party are other BJP coalition partners which would be fighting the Bihar polls to achieve “Mission 185”.

The BJP is also unlikely to go to polls with a face contrary to the JDU-RJD coalition which has decided to project present Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as their poll mascot.  "It will be better if the name of chief minister is announced after the election," Manjhi said, giving enough indication about the thinking in the BJP which wants to avoid heart burns among the leaders before battle as it happened in Delhi polls.

The BJP is also contemplating at exploiting resentment among Yadavs over RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav aligning with his rival Nitish Kumar. Yadavs and Kurmis are the two castes that don’t share warmth in the power struggle and there were about 80 seats during last Assembly polls where candidates of the JD-U and the RJD contested against each other, said party sources. Manjhi, who did entertain political overtures from the RJD chief,  said "Yadavs feel that Lalu has betrayed them by joining hands with Nitish, who put thousands of Yadavs behind bars on petty charges. They no longer think that Lalu is their leader. Under these circumstances I felt that an alternative was needed".

Morcha has called a meeting of its core committee on June 15 to decide on the number of seats it would bargain from the BJP for the polls.

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