Jitan Ram Manjhi’s decision of dissolution was ‘expected’ in most non-JD(U) circles after it became clear that his struggle to wean away a sizeable number of dissidents may not fructify.
The BJP believed that given the situation Manjhi did not appear to be drawing the support he needed on his own, a BJP backing of 87 legislators risked falling flat.
The BJP struggled with the advantages of keeping Manjhi longer in power, including the fact that with Manjhi by its side, the ‘untapped’ Dalit power could be brought to bear electorally in its favour though ‘adjusting’ him in some high position had long remained unresolved.
The BJP had reason to support Manjhi in his resolution for the simple fact that it gets a chance to ‘not get involved’ and also be able to claim that it was always in favour of a ‘clean administration’.
The situation within the RJD, however, is the most downbeat.
RJD leader Lalu Prasad had hoped that a union with the JD(U) in power and Manjhi on the hot seat had given it enough leeway to administer by proxy. Manjhi’s removal will now worry the RJD for the eclipse of the Dalit factor.
From here, uniting or merging forces with the JD(U) will invite the censure of Mahadalits and Dalits. The Congress also loses directly, for despite having a leader from the same group that Manjhi represents, it’s restricted by Manjhi as an independent player. Manjhi now can tilt the scales for either the BJP or the RJD.
BJP leaders claim that a delay in handing over power to Nitish Kumar would widen the divide within the JD(U). This is a situation the BJP wants to exploit. The BJP will keep channels of communication open with Manjhi but leaders rule out his immediate entry into the party fold, saying they would wait for the governor’s response to determine a course of action.