In the wake of controversy over the remarks of former Chief Minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi, his party Hindustani Awami Morcha Secular threatened to quit the NDA. Manjhi, a dalit leader has been facing heat specially from BJP over his recent remark that he did not believe Ram to be a God.
“The NDA government in Bihar will fall if our four MLA’s withdraw support. The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers and leaders will be left on the road fending for themselves and chanting the name of Lord Ram,” HAMS spokesman Danish Rizwan was quoted by a TheTelegraph report.
“These BJP ministers should understand that they are in power (in Bihar) due to the support and mercy of Manjhi ji. Nobody will recognise them if we pull out the support,” he added.
The HAMS threat is seen as a reaction to BJP leaders’ strong condemnation of Manjhi. Leading the charge state environment and forest minister Niraj Kumar Singh Bablu said on Monday, “Manjhi should take sanyas and spend time chanting the name of Lord Ram. He needs rest.
“He should handover the political responsibilities to his next generation. In any case there is a tradition in our country that people chant Ram’s name when the end comes near.”
Manjhi is known for unrestrained utterances which every now and then stirs controversy. A week ago, he had sparked a row after he allegedly used an expletive against Barhamins. However, after the backlash from various Brahmins organizations he backtracked and organized a Brahmins-Dalits-Unity Feast at his official residence in Patna. However, another controversy erupted as several Brahmins leaders alleged manhandling by Manjhi supporters during the feast.
Meanwhile, former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi came in support of Jitan Ram Manjhi on Tuesday. Modi said that Manjhi is a senior NDA leader therefore NDA constituents should not target him.
Incidentally, HAMS threat exposes the precarious standing of Bihar NDA government as it stays on thin majority i.e., 126 out of 243, thus it needs support of smaller allies like HAMS and VIPs to stay afloat. The NDA needs at least 122 members to prove majority in the Bihar Assembly.