Mr Manjhi, a dalit leader who became chief minister for a brief period after Nitish Kumar stepped down
Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today claimed that the Grand Alliance comprising his Hindustani Awam Morcha besides RJD and Congress would “weaken” if LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan entered the “Mahagathbandhan“.
Mr Manjhi made the assertion in reply to a query as to whether Mr Paswan’s entry would strengthen the Grand Alliance and added “even if he comes, I would oppose it in my personal capacity”.
“I do not think Paswan’s entry would strengthen the Grand Alliance. I believe Mahagathbandhan will only become weak on account of such a development. Even if he comes, I would oppose such a move in my personal capacity,” Mr Manjhi told reporters here.
The HAM president was asked about the possibility of the Union minister’s making a turnaround in the wake of the recent tough posturing by his LJP on the issues of SC/ST Act and removal of Justice A K Goel – one of the Supreme Court judges who passed the judgement diluting the law – as Chairman of the National Green Tribunal.
All India Congress Committee -AICC in-charge of Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil had last week claimed that the dilution of the SC/ST Act may force many BJP allies to quit the NDA and join the opposition camp ahead of the Lok Sabha polls next year.
Mr Manjhi, a dalit leader who became the Chief Minister for a brief period after Nitish Kumar stepped down following the JD(U)’s debacle in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, alleged “despite being a dalit himself, Paswan had criticized the country-wide bandh called by SC/ST organizations on April 02 this year”.
“In Bihar, it was left to a Jitan Ram Manjhi and a Tejashwi Yadav (RJD leader) to offer vital political support to the movement. Despite being a Union minister, Paswan looked the other way when the Centre dragged its feet in filing a review petition”.
Training his guns at Nitish Kumar, to make way for whose return he had to step down as Chief Minister, Mr Manjhi alleged the JD(U) chief has “not a single achievement to speak of in the last one year ever since he returned to the NDA”.
After floating his own party in 2015, Manjhi had joined the BJP-led NDA and fought the assembly polls. He quit the alliance earlier this year and joined the RJD-Congress combine after which his son Santosh Manjhi got elected to the legislative council.
Coming down heavily on the state government on the issue of sexual abuse of girls at a state-funded shelter home in Muzaffarpur, Manjhi said “the CBI should probe the functioning of all such shelter homes across the state”.