In a major setback to state unit of Indian National Congress, its former state president Ram Jatan Sinha has now joined Janta Dal (United). Sinha joined JD(U) at an auditorium, in presence of top leaders like national vice-president Prashant Kishore and state unit chief Vashishth Narayan Singh. He was later felicitated by party supremo and Chief Minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar.
Sinha had left the Congres party in 2015, ahead of state elections. He is a three-time MLA from Makhdumpur assembly segment in Jehanabad district. He is speculated to fight upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the same seat, considering his popularity within the district’s Bhumiar population. He had tried his luck in 2015 assembly elections, as an independent candidate, but had lost.
He was the president of Bihar Pradesh Congress committee in 2003.
At a party function in Bapu Sabhanagr auditorium, he had lauded CM Nitish Kumar’s performance in the state. He had said that CM Nitish has been successful in eradicating the social inequalities prevailing in the society, on the grounds of caste and religion. He also had taken a dig at, Fodder scam convict RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejasvi Yadav, without taking the name. He said that people without formal education, have no right to ask the question about the state of universities of Bihar.
CM Nitish Kumar also praised Sinha’s contributions from the early days of his life in the education sector. He also added that his party is not controlled by a family, and therefore it wholeheartedly accepts individuals from various walks of life. In February, last year BPCC president Ashok Choudhary along with three Members of legislative Council had defected to JD(U). Former state president Mehboob Ali Kaiser had also joined NDA-constituent Lok Jan Shakti Party.
Amid this, Mahagatbandhan constituent – Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awami Morcha is keeping the alliance on the toe. Manjhi has made it clear that his party should get the number of seats, not less than its partner Rashtriya Lok Samta Party(RLSP). RLSP recently had exited NDA, to fight along with the alliance.
“Under no circumstances would we agree to a number of seats that is less than what is given to Kushwaha. We are not demanding any specific number but our contention is we must not get less than RLSP. Rather, we should get more” Manji asserted. He had said a few months ago, that his party has the dominant role in almost 20 seats out of 40 Lok Sabha seats. Manjhi had also taken a dig both at NDA and UPA recently. He had called NDA a ‘Nagraj’ (king cobra), and UPA a ‘saanpraj’ (king of snakes), and had declared that his party will boycott Lok Sabha elections if alliance fails to satisfy him.
HAM leader Jitan Ram Manjhi on seat sharing: We’ve said it earlier also, we‘re a part of grand alliance&will stay a part of it.We came to help Lalu ji when nobody did. We’re no less than anyone; our contribution is more in grand alliance. There’s no question of us joining the NDA pic.twitter.com/kEwBAN0OiW
— ANI (@ANI) February 13, 2019
But, on the question, whether he is considering joining NDA back, he said, ” Why would I have left NDA if I were to go back? When I joined ‘Mahagathbandhan’ I had vowed that I will strengthen the hands of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad. I am going to meet him shortly.”
The high number of the exodus of its Congress’ veteran leaders to rival camp is surely going to deliver the blow to Congress party, which is expecting a comeback in the state with help of the Mahgatbandhan alliance stitched with Rashtriya Lok Dal. On the other hand, the alliance itself is facing strong dissent within itself, making it tougher to announce the seat-sharing formula.