After Shiv Sena and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) expressed their angst against the BJP, two NDA allies in Bihar seem to be looking for an “opportune” moment to walk out of the ruling alliance. Sources point out that their recent actions are indicators in that direction.
Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) on Saturday staked claim to contest 50 seats in the next Assembly elections even while the House is just midway through its term. HAM, led by former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, put forth his demand amid reports that the state Assembly elections could be advanced to take place simultaneously with Lok Sabha polls due in 2019.
“HAM has planned to contest 50 seats in the next Assembly elections. Unless we have larger share in the government how can we implement the agenda for the poor,” Manjhi told newsmen on Saturday.
He also demanded that should NDA return to power in the state two Deputy Chief Ministers one representing Dalits and another minority community should be appointed.
Manjhi accused the Nitish Kumar government of working against the interests of the minority community. Manjhi claimed that during his brief tenure as Chief Minister of Bihar, his government took 34 decisions but most of them were yet to be implemented.
Another NDA constituent, Rashtrila Lok Samata Party (RLSP) has launched a campaign to project its president Upendra Kushwaha as the next chief ministerial face of Bihar. The party is understood to be not happy with Nitish Kumar government.
Last week, RLSP organised a human chain outside schools in Bihar, seeking reforms in the education system. That was boycotted by both the key constituents of the NDA JD-U and the BJP but attended by rival Lalu Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal.
At a function held in Patna on Friday, the RLSP went to the extent of calling the JD-U “paltu” (turncoat). “The NDA is not the fiefdom of anyone. We have been there (NDA) for long but the JD-U returned to it only few months back,” RLSP’s national working president Nagmani remarked at a party function, indicating all was not well with the NDA.
RLSP also made a demand to contest 10 seats in the next parliamentary elections. In 2014 polls, RLSP won three of the four it was offered by the NDA under a seat-sharing arrangement. However, now it wants more notwithstanding that JD-U, one of the most formidable forces in the state, has joined the NDA.
Bihar has 40 LS seats to be shared by five constituents of the NDA – BJP, JD-U, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), RLSP and HAM. Given the battle of attrition among the NDA allies, it appears that it would be tough for the BJP to please all its allies.
Curiously, the BJP is the largest claimant for LS seats. In the last LS polls, the BJP bagged 22 seats out of 29 it contested. Its other allies, LJP won six seats of seven whereas RLSP added three more seats to NDA kitty.