PATNA: Former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi is set to join the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar on Thursday (September 3), sources said on Wednesday.
Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) had quit the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or Grand Alliance on August 20. Since then, there was speculation that he might merge his party with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United JD(U).
Manjhi also met Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar last week.
Sources further said Manjhi also explored the possibility of putting up a ‘third front’. He has also met leaders of other political parties like Pappu Yadav of Jan Adhikaar Party (JAP) and Mukesh Sahani-led Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) but the talks failed.
A party insider believes that HAM will bag 9 to 12 seats as an NDA alliance partner out of 243 seats in Bihar Assembly polls.
On the other hand, top leaders of BJP and (JDU) are eyeing Dalit vote bank through Manjhi in Bihar as they believe that he could be an asset to them, sources added.
Bihar has a total of 7,21,40,945 electoral voters.
Among them, 15 per cent voters belong to Dalit and Mahadalit community, 17 per cent Muslims, 50 per cent OBC, 19 per cent upper castes (General), and 2 per cent Adiwasi.
Besides Manjhi, Ram Vilas Paswan and other leaders also represent Dalit and Mahadalit communities in Bihar.
Currently, the NDA has three main political parties — JDU, BJP, and LJP.