Till the last week of June former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi was the darling of some regional television channels. The president of Hindustani Awam Morcha was giving one ultimatum after another to the Rashtriya Janata Dal and was, in not so many words, threatening to quit the Grand Alliance. Then he flew to Delhi to meet Congress leader Sonia Gandhi.
The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party leader Upendra Kushwaha was also trying to flex his muscle. But he was not so aggressive. A month later Manjhi is hardly visible in the media. Now nobody in the BJP and Janata Dal United is praising him. The only time the names of these two parties, that is HAM and RLSP, appeared in the media was on July 17, but in a different role.
HAM and RLSP were among the opposition parties–RJD, Congress, Vikasheel Insan Party, Left parties as well as Sharad Yadav’s outfit were otherst–which on that day wrote a letter to the Election Commission expressing concern as to how would it be possible to conduct poll in Bihar when it is in the grip of Corona Virus.
Since July 17 the challenge put by COVID-19 and flood had only increased.One failed to understand when and how Manjhi, who was till a few weeks back, looking forward to crossover to the Janata Dal United, is once again in the Grand Alliance camp.Curiously, the NDA leaders, minus LJP, pooh-poohed the Grand Alliance leaders and accused them of running away from the poll.
The NDA alleged that the opposition has been demanding the postponement because they have conceded defeat. Manjhi appears to have realised his weakness. The hobnobbing between LJP leader Chirag Paswan and RJD and Congress bigwigs alarmed Manjhi. Besides, the total failure of the Nitish Kumar government in dealing with the double challenge of pandemic and flood opened his eyes and he realised that things are not so rosy for the NDA as till lately the media was sketching.
Thus he started keeping a low profile. In contrast the stature of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has improved in the last couple of weeks. He had rushed to the flood affected areas of Bihar and has repeatedly been exposing the utter failure of the state government on the Corona front. On the other hand Manjhi and to some extent Kushwaha had considerably lost their bargaining position.