Differences in the Opposition Grand Alliance leaders have come to fore over the chief ministerial candidate in the coming Bihar Assembly polls in 2020. Former Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi has been repeatedly claiming to be ready to take up the post again if the Grand Alliance gets a majority in the state assembly polls next year.

“I am ready if Grand Alliance elect me the leader to lead it after the poll results,” Manjhi has repeated thrice in the last three days to send the message that the issue of the chief ministerial candidate is not yet decided, contrary to its ally RJD’s claim that its young leader and former CM Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav is the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance.

Manjhi is among the most senior leaders of the alliance after RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who is undergoing treatment in a government-run hospital in Ranchi after being convicted in the fodder scam case. The HAM chief said that Tejashwi lacked experience to lead a Grand Alliance government.

“I had experience of nine months as CM and can prove a good CM again, I am ready for it if elected leader of the alliance”, Manjhi said.  Subsequently, the RJD has sharply taunted Manjhi for being in a hurry to assume the chief ministership. “Manjhi is a respected senior leader, he should not be restless to project himself as CM candidate in media. Such serious issue is not decided in media, it will be discussed and decided in a meeting of alliance parties” RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary said on Friday.

Another RJD leader, Bhai Virendra, said RJD had already announced Tejashwi Yadav as the chief ministerial face a long time back and there would be no change to it. According to sources in the alliance, Congress had also questioned the capability of Tejashwi Yadav as leader and made it clear that Tejashwi is the chief ministerial candidate of the party not of the alliance.

But two other allies, Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) of former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha and Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP) of Mukesh Sahni, popularly known as son of Mallah, are with Tejashwi Yadav on the leadership issue.

BJP state president and Union Minister of State Nityanand Rai lashed out, saying that the Grand Alliance has been finished, there’s no use talking about the leadership. “The Grand Alliance has been wiped out in the Lok Sabha election results and all that is left will be taken care of in the assembly elections,” added Rai.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav has currently joined a party membership drive after remaining absent from active politics for over two and a half months. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has set a target of 50 lakh members by adding 15 lakh new members in the ongoing membership drive that will end on October 2. The RJD failed to win even a single seat in the Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.