Hindustani Awam Morcha President Santosh Kumar Suman on Tuesday resigned as a minister in the Bihar government, PTI reported. Suman, son of former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, was the scheduled caste and schedule tribe welfare minister in the Bihar Cabinet.
He alleged that there was pressure on him to merge his party with Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United). “The existence of our party was under threat, this is why I took this step,” he said, according to ANI.
Suman also alleged that his party had not been invited to the meeting of Opposition parties in Patna on June 23. He added that it was for Kumar to decide whether his party would remain a part of the ruling alliance in Bihar.
The Hindustani Awam Morcha has four MLAs in the 243-member Bihar assembly. It is part of the ruling alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Indian National Congress, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist–Leninist) Liberation, and Communist Party of India (Marxist).
On Tuesday, RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari told reporters that Manjhi is known for his pressure tactics. He also accused the Bhartiya Janata Party of instigating Suman’s decision to quit.
“At a rally in Purnea earlier this year, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had spoken of the BJP’s attempts to beguile Manjhi,” he said, according to PTI. “It seems he has fallen into the trap. Claims of pressure for merger by JD(U) do not hold water.”
Manjhi had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi in April. Following this, the father-son duo demanded at least than five seats for their party in Lok Sabha polls next year.
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that the decision of Manji’s son is proof of a rife within the ruling alliance.
“The alliance has been rejected by the people and it will become evident in the Lok Sabha polls next year and culminate in the defeat of the Mahagathbandhan in the assembly elections a year later,” BJP national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, according to PTI.