Former Bihar chief minister and HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi said on Friday that the BJP was not giving enough importance to its allies.
“If the BJP does not give us the importance we deserve, we should be prepared to get under one name, one flag and strike out an individual political course,” Manjhi said.
The Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular is an ally of the Bhartiya Janata Party in Bihar.
Manjhi said, “It seems like that we are members of one family but our kitchens are separate and we are going our own way. This is not proper.”
“We treat BJP as our elder brother but it does not give us any importance,” Manjhi said, referring to the Loktantrik Janata Party (LJP) led by Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Rashtriya Loktantrik Samata Party (RLSP) led by Upendra Kumar Kushwaha.
The ruling Grand Alliance in Bihar was quick to pounce on Manjhi’s, saying that their alliance with the NDA was cosmetic and its results were becoming more obvious.
Deputy chief minister and RJD minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav said, “The alliance partners of NDA are feeling uncomfortable. This was bound to happen. The alliance was so cosmetic, that they could not gel.”
Former minister in NDA , Shyam Rajak said, “The alliance partners have now realised that BJP is a Manuwadi party and it cannot continue with groups that are led by leaders of backward groups.”
Ashok Choudhary, the Bihar Pradesh Congress committee president and education minister in the state government said, “The NDA recipe is turning sour. In any case, it could not have continued.”
Manjhi also said, “Even if we get together under one name and flag, it can only help the NDA, for we as a separate group can help the NDA in Assam and stop the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party from coming back to power in Uttar Pradesh. Me, Ram Vilas or Upendra Kushwaha -- any of us can be the leader of such a group.”
The former Bihar chief minister however clarified that “there has been no talk of merger”, referring to a Tuesday meeting at HAM-S chief Brishan Patel’s residence, which was also attended by Chirag Paswan, LJP’s leader in the Parliament apart from Ram Vilas Paswan and Uendra Kushwaha.
“We just decided that all three parties-allies of the BJP should be on board any political programme undertaken heretofore and it should be independent of NDA, so that our political identities are not compromised,” he said.
He said, “We are interested that the HAM-S, RLSP and LJP should organise joint programmes on people’s issues and oppose the state government on the law and order issue.”
BJP leader Mangal Pandey said, “We are not bothered about the merger for after all, they are our constituents-together, or even separately. I do not see any problems of severance of alliance at any point in the future.”
BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi added, “They are vital allies for whom we have highest regard. There is no problem within the alliance and we know, it would continue.”