Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Sunday said he has refused BJP chief Amit Shah’s offer to merge his Hindustani Awami Morcha ahead of the assembly polls and would only join the National Democratic Alliance.
Manjhi also said that he is not in the race for the chief minister’s post and only a BJP leader would be the candidate.
"I refused the offer of Shah to merge HAM with the BJP. We will only join hands with the NDA as an alliance partner to take on combine of (Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar, (RJD chief) Lalu Prasad and Congress in upcoming polls," he told media here after returning from New Delhi, where he met Shah to discuss to join a "grand alliance" against the Janata Dal-United, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress combine.
He said that there is no question of merger with BJP. "HAM would be a part of NDA. We have our own political identity and social support base," he said.
He made it clear that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be the face of the NDA in upcoming polls. "We will go to polls in the name of Modi and under his leadership to defeat the combine of Nitish-Lalu and Congress," he said.
Manjhi however said no final decision has been made on seat-sharing with the BJP.
HAM leaders close to Manjhi said that he has staked claim for 30 assembly seats from BJP but the latter is not ready for this.
Manjhi, who launched the HAM after being expelled from the JD-U fro not stepping down as chief minister, said he would neither contest Rajya Sabha polls nor was keen to become a union minister ahead of upcoming state assembly polls. "I am keen to contest upcoming assembly polls… it will be decided by HAM on June 16."