Will quit NDA, says Jitan Ram Manjhi

Will quit NDA, says Jitan Ram Manjhi

Will quit NDA, says Jitan Ram Manjhi

Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said that his Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) will quit the ruling NDA in the state and join the opposition 'Mahagathbandhan' on Wednesday.

The 'Mahagathbandhan' (Grand Alliance) currently comprises the RJD and the Congress.

The announcement was made by Manjhi outside his residence here, in the presence of RJD leaders Tejashwi Yadav, Bhola Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav and others who had called on the former Bihar chief minister.

"We will quit the NDA and join the Mahagathbandhan. A formal announcement to this effect will be made later tonight (Wednesday) when the reasons for this major decision will also be made public," Manjhi told reporters.

Tejashwi Yadav, who is the leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly, said "the hollowness of the claims by the BJP-led NDA about its cohesion stands exposed. We welcome Jitan Ram Manjhi, a father figure and a champion of social justice, to the Mahagathbandhan".

The development came two days after Manjhi demanded the NDA to field at least one member from his party for the six Rajya Sabha polls in Bihar, scheduled next month, and warned that the HAM will not campaign in support of BJP and JD(U) candidates for the by-polls in two Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat scheduled for March 11.

Formerly with the JD(U), Manjhi had quit the party in 2015 after being forced to step down as the chief minister to make way for the return of Nitish Kumar.

He later on formed the HAM and joined the NDA.

Nitish, who was then with the Grand Alliance, returned to the NDA in July last year.

Asked whether Manjhi has been promised a Rajya Sabha seat, Tejashwi Yadav said "decisions regarding Rajya Sabha candidates will be taken at an appropriate time.

"Today's development underscores the simmering discontent within the arrogant NDA. Upendra Kushwaha (Union minister and RLSP chief) has expressed his discomfiture in the BJP-led alliance many times. It is time for people like him to take a decision," Tejashwi said.

Meanwhile, Bhola Yadav, a close confidant of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and a party general secretary, told reporters outside the Vidhan Sabha, "Manjhi joining the Grand Alliance is just the beginning. A number of legislators of Nitish Kumar's JD(U) are also in touch with us".

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