New Delhi: Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, whose proposed inclusion in the Janata Pariivar alliance has sharpened differences between Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday and held talks for a possible tie-up in the poll-bound state.
According to reports, Manjhi, who had arrived in the national capital yesterday, will also meet top BJP leaders later in the day. Sources close to the ‘Mahadalit’ leader revealed that he and the BJP are eager to join hands to contest the upcoming assembly polls in Bihar together.
The BJP-led NDA is also looking forward to him in a bid to widen its base in the state. BJP president Amit Shah had yesterday hinted at joining hands with Manjhi, saying talks are on and his party’s doors are open for new allies. Manjhi is being eyed by BJP-led NDA as well as Prasad as their new ally as the Mahadalit community has the potential of tilting the scale in favour of either of the two alliances.
Many believe that his populist policies when he was the Chief Minister, besides his sacking from the hot seat by JD(U), has generated some sympathy for him in his community even though he remains an “untested commodity”. Prasad, the RJD president, had recently proposed that Manjhi be included in the grand alliance against BJP, inviting sharp response from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who is against any truck with his former protege.
Manjhi had also made it clear that he would not be part of any combination which includes Kumar. With differences between Kumar and Prasad coming to the fore, BJP believes it can wrest the state from the two Bihar satraps who together have ruled it for the last 25 years.