Even as the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leaders appear to be in a defiant mood, the former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM (Hindustani Awam Morcha) is going to join the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) by the end of this month.
According to reports HAM is likely to get seven to nine seats from the Janata Dal United quota. The final agreement in this regard has come following talks between chief minister Nitish Kumar and Manjhi. Reports also said that Manjhi was in fact urged to merge his party with the Janata Dal United but the formula could not be worked out.
The Dalit leader was not feeling very much at home in the Grand Alliance, especially after the proximity shown by the LJP towards it. The LJP leader and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag Paswan have of late been repeatedly targeting chief minister Nitish Kumar. While Ram Vilas is the leader of the Dussadh sub-caste, considered to be the strongest in Bihar, Manjhi is a Musahar, rated as socially the weakest sub-caste.
If Manjhi has agreed to contest on just seven to nine seats it would be a major climb down from the last time in 2015 when it as the NDA constituent got at least three times more seats. However, HAM could win only one seat and that too of Manjhi from Imamganj Assembly seat in Gaya district.
Political observers of the view that the Dalit politics in Bihar is likely to undergo a big overhaul if Manjhi’s HAM goes on to Join the NDA. On the other hand, if the Grand Alliance really succeeds in wooing LJP it would more than compensate the loss suffered by the exit of Manjhi.