Jitan Ram Majhi, the former chief minister of Bihar and chief of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), has ruffled feathers by claiming more seats within the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance). He also said that if the desired number of seats are not given to him, he would contest the elections independently. He didn’t stop short of saying that though the Congress is a national party, his party’s status is higher than that of Rahul Gandhi’s party in Bihar and he wouldn’t tolerate humiliation. “Our party should get more seats than the Congress,” Manjhi said. He would speak to Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad on the same and if the RJD-Congress do not meet his demand, he would be forced to look into ‘other options’ available to him’, adding that his workers are also ready to cross.
Earlier also Manjhi had said that he would not be content with seats that are less than the number of seats given to Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP). “We are a much bigger party with our current expansion and we deserve the same number of seats that RLSP gets, if not more,” the HAM leader, whose entire political career was built on the issue of reservation, said.
Manjhi, who held a meeting with district presidents of his party here, said as quoted by ToI, “Our party enjoys more public support than Congress and RLSP in the state. We should be allotted more seats than these parties. Otherwise, we will contest 20 seats on our own.”
Manjhi is scheduled to meet imprisoned Lalu Prasad on February 23 to discuss ‘fair and equitable’ distribution of seats within the Grand Alliance. “We should not be considered any less than other members of the Grand Alliance. Our party is bigger than RLSP and VIP so we should get more seats than them,” he said.
He said the district presidents of the party have passed a resolution favouring HAM to contest at least 20 seats in the Lok Sabha election. “The Election Commission has allotted telephone symbol to us and the party workers have already started preparations for the election. The party’s national executive will meet on February 18 to take a final call on the seat-sharing issue,” Manjhi added.