Patna: Former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi today demanded a ‘respectable' number of seats in the upcoming Assembly polls from the BJP-led coalition.
“We are seeking respect and (hence) a respectable number of seats from the NDA in upcoming assembly polls....so long as we get respect, there will be no deviation otherwise all options are open to us,” he told reporters at a joint press conference with the Jan Adhikar Party founder leader Pappu Yadav.
Manjhi said that his party will be compelled to explore other options if the NDA failed to come upto his expectation of number of seats for the HAM (Secular) in the assembly polls due in Bihar in a couple of months' time.
With Pappu Yadav sitting on his side, the former chief minister made it clear that he may explore alliance with the MP from Madhepura, who has recently junked the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad to float his outfit.
On his equations with the Jan Adhikar Party founder, Manjhi said that the two shared identical views on socio-economic and political issues, besides issues related to deprived sections of the society.
“We have been together on a host of political issues for quite some,” the HAM (Secular) leader said about his relations with Pappu Yadav.
The Jan Adhikar Party founding leader too praised the former chief minister saying he was a bigger leader than the incumbent chief minister Nitish Kumar and the RJD supremo Lalu Prasad.
“If the secular alliance can project Nitish Kumar as its face in the assembly polls, then the NDA too should come forward with Manjhi's candidature,” Yadav said.
The Madhepura MP said that the HAM (Secular) leader was any day more powerful than either the JD(U) leader or RJD supremo as he enjoyed the backing of 22 per cent dalit population.
Manjhi's latest political move as well as his subtle hints to go with Pappu Yadav in the event of not getting desired number of seats for the assembly polls may have caused heartburn for the BJP leadership which had recently overcome similar move of muscle flexing by another ally - Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).
The RLSP had called for its leader Upendra Kushwaha's projection as the NDA's chief ministerial face and demanded 67assembly seats for it.