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Ex-Bihar CM Manjhi mulls floating party before Assembly polls

Jitan Ram Manjhi

Patna: Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who was forced to quit two months ago after falling out with the JD(U) leadership, today said he was likely to float a political party and ruled out any pre-poll alliance for the state Assembly elections, due this year.

While making it clear that he will not under any circumstances join the formation led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar or RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, Manjhi said he was “not averse” to giving or taking support from the BJP if the situation warranted.

Discounting chances of his entering into a pre-poll alliance with any party, Manjhi said at a meet-the-press here that he may even contest the Bihar polls alone.

“We have formed a social organisation called Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), which is holding a big public rally on April 20 in Patna to decide the future course of action. About five lakh people are likely to attend it and if the response is good, I may form a new party and contest elections on my own,” Manjhi said.

However, he did not dismiss either offering support or taking support from the BJP to form the next government, but was averse to striking a deal with any formation having Nitish and Lalu.

The new alliance of Lalu, Nitish and Mulayam Singh is short of any ideology, he said, alleging them as “opportunists”.

“Nitish had termed Lalu’s rule as ‘jungle raj’ and Lalu, while accusing Nitish of sending him to jail, had once vowed to be a saviour of Dalits like me…yet he betrayed me,” Manjhi alleged.

Asked about Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Manjhi said he is a person with secular credentials.

“Modi cannot be called communal. I find nothing wrong with his secular credentials since he has pledged trying to take along all sections of people with him,” he said.

Manjhi, who was expelled from the JD (U) before he resigned as the chief minister ahead of the crucial trust vote in the state Assembly, had claimed that he formed the new front to ‘expose’ Nitish and the party.

He was later declared as an unattached member in the Bihar Assembly.

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