Never talked of quitting Grand Alliance, says Manjhi

Jitan Ram Manjhi

Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) National President Jitan Ram Manjhi on Sunday asserted that he never said his party would pull out of the five-party Grand Alliance in Bihar.

The former Bihar chief minister, however, said that a coordination committee should be formed for taking decisions regarding the Grand Alliance and for better coordination among its partners RJD, Congress, RLSP, HAM(S) and Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP).

Speaking to reporters after HAM(S) youth wing meeting convened at his residence here, Manjhi said, "I never said my party will come out of the Grand Alliance... I will remain in it... Though, I firmly spoke about the formation of a coordination committee for taking decisions of the alliance."

Manjhi had on November 7 announced at the national executive meeting of HAM(S) that his party would go it alone in the upcoming Jharkhand Assembly elections, where it has not contested any poll so far.

He also announced that his party will field candidates in all the 243 Assembly segments of Bihar during Vidhan Sabha elections next year, giving rise to speculations that the Dalit leader may quit the Grand Alliance.

"I had joined the Grand Alliance on the condition that there will be a coordination committee and every decision of alliance will be taken through the committee alone," he told reporters on Sunday.

When pointed out that RJD heir apparent Tejashwi Prasad Yadav had said that Manjhi had made up his mind to quit the alliance, the HAM(S) supremo refused to comment on it.

Asked whether he would suggest Tejashwi Yadav for constituting the coordination committee, Manjhi said he had spoken to both Tejashwi and his father Lalu Prasad Yadav about it on several occasions.

"If they (Grand Alliance leaders) think that Jitan Ram Manjhi has no role to play in the alliance, then it is alright. I will remain in the alliance and continue politics," he said.

Manjhi asserted that if the alliance wants to defeat the NDA, then it has to be strengthened for which a coordination committee is a must.

"We can fight Nitish Kumar and defeat the NDA only through the coordination committee. But, if any party leader shows reluctance in forming such committee, then I will consider him as a supporter of NDA," he said. 

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