Manjhi Joins Grand Alliance; Lashes Out at Nitish Kumar

Jitan Ram Manjhi joins Mahagathbandhan on Thursday.

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Patna: Former Chief Minister of Bihar and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, a day after announcing his decision to split away from the NDA, formally joined the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led Grand Alliance, or Mahagathbandhan, in Bihar in the presence of RJD acting President Tejaswi Yadav and other party leaders.

Manjhi, who had been throwing tantrum for weeks over not being able to wrestle at least one more seat for his party from the NDA in the upcoming special elections in Bihar, said he was very hurt by the treatment he received in the NDA and he felt suffocated in the alliance of which Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal – U is also a member of.

"Some of the policies of Nitish Kumar have proven to be disastrous for the Dalits and backwards of Bihar. Under the new prohibition law alone, about 99% of the arrested men and women come from backward, poor, or Dalit communities," the HAM leader said,

Manjhi also expressed his disappointment with K S Dwivedi, the new DGP of Bihar, saying this is the same person who failed to do his job during the infamous Bhagalpur riots in the '80s.

The former Chief Minister who resents the idea of an upper-caste DGP, said that there were a number of 'highly qualified IPS officers from the backward community' waiting to be promoted to the post of DGP but Nitish Kumar ignored them and made Dwivedi, an upper caste IPS officer, the chief of police.

"This is very unfortunate," he said.

Praising RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav who is languishing in a Jharkhand jail in connection with the fodder scam, the former Chief Minister said that he had joined the Grand Alliance to spread the ideals of Yadav who, he said, was the first one to give voice to those who had no representation in the government or government jobs.

Tejaswi Yadav, who has been entrusted to run the party in the absence of his father Lalu Prasad Yadav, welcomed Manjhi within the Mahagathbandhan fold saying he made the right choice if he wanted to serve the people of Bihar.

"We are very happy Manjhi ji, who is like a father-figure to me, has quit the NDA and joined hands with the Grand Alliance. NDA is being run by a dictator and its constituents like JD-U, LJP, and RLSP are not happy with the status quo. They are also waiting for the right opportunity to ditch the BJP which will certainly doom the prospect of the BJP in the next state and national elections," Yadav said.

Meanwhile, BJP state President Nityanand Rai, reacting to Manjhi's decision to get out of the NDA, said it was good that he left on his own because with his growing demand for one thing or another, it was becoming very hard to satisfy him.

"NDA gave him the respect that he deserved but he always put his personal ambitions before the welfare of the state and so, we welcome his decision to break away from the NDA on his own. I don't believe anyone in the NDA is going to cry over his exit," Rai said.

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