National

Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi Quits NDA, Joins Mahagathbandhan

SHAHNAWAZ | 2
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| February 28 , 2018 , 15:38 IST

Former Chief Minister of Bihar and leader of Hindustani Awam Morcha, Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday announced his departure from the National Democratic Alliance and joined the RJD-Congress Mahagathbandhan. This is an important move ahead of the by-elections for one Loksabha and two Assembly seats in the state.

Manjhi who once was a close confidant of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had turned as a bête noire. He briefly served as the Chief Minister of the state after Nitish Kumar resigned from the post and handed the reigns of the state to Manjhi. Manjhi was dubbed as a puppet of Kumar by the state media and opposition parties at that time.

Within a year, Manjhi was asked to resign and pave way for Nitish Kumar’s return. Jitan Ram Manjhi refused to resign, making it a prestige issue. He was expelled from the party. Manjhi tried to retain his position but could not garner enough numbers for the trust vote in assembly despite having the support of the BJP. He finally resigned hours before the trust vote.

Manjhi started his career in 1980 with the Congress Party and served at several ministerial positions in the State Government. He, later on, joined the Janata dal and then the RJD under Lalu Yadav. He served as a minister under both Lalu Yadav and Rabri Devi. After RJD’s defeat in the 2005 elections, Manjhi joined JD (U) and slowly gained the trust of the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

After his split with the JD (U), Majhi formed the Hindustani Awam Morcha and got into alliance with BJP that at that time was the biggest challenger to Nitish Kumar. He had been unhappy with the BJP after its alliance was forged with JD (U) and Nitish Kumar came under the NDA umbrella.

Manjhi was very unhappy with the Jehanabad by-elections as he had staked claim for the seat but it went to JD (U). As per reports Manjhi was also hopeful of a Rajya Sabha seat for his party but did not get any positive message from the NDA leadership.

Meanwhile, RJD leader and former Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav welcomed Manjhi in the Mahagathbadhan in a joint media address.