Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) will join the National Democratic Alliance ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, PTI reported on Wednesday.
The party’s spokesperson Danish Rizwan said that Manjhi will make a formal announcement on Thursday. “Yes, we’ll be joining NDA tomorrow [Thursday] in Patna and our party president Jitan Ram Manjhi ji would announce it formally,” Rizwan told The Hindu. He added that the party wanted to join hands with the NDA for the development of Bihar and “nothing else”.
“Seats have never been an issue for us,” Rizwan said, according to India Today. “The manner in which Prime Minister [Narendra] Modi is handling the economic crisis in the country and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is working for development of the state, we want to be part of it.”
Unidentified officials from Manjhi’s party told The Hindu that they may get seven to nine Assembly seats from the Janata Dal (United) quota. Assembly elections in the state are due in October-November later this year.
Last month, Manjhi’s party had quit the grand alliance or the “Mahagathbandhan” in Bihar after two-and-a-half years in the Opposition coalition, comprising of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party and Vikassheel Insan Party.
The former Bihar chief minister had reportedly met Kumar on August 27 to discuss seat sharing ahead of the elections, according to PTI. His party will be the fourth alliance partner of the NDA in Bihar. Presently, the alliance comprises of the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Lok Janshakti Party and the Janata Dal (United).
Manjhi, who was earlier with the Janata Dal (United), had quit the party in 2015 after he was forced to step down as the chief minister for Nitish Kumar to take over. He then formed the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) and joined the National Democratic Alliance. After Kumar returned to the NDA in July 2017, Manjhi quit the alliance and joined the “Mahagathbandhan”.