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Prohibition Was a Tool to Persecute Dalits, Says Jitan Ram Manjhi After Ditching Nitish Kumar

He also accused BJP, JD(U)’s alliance partner in the state, of backstabbing by fielding candidates in 16 out of the 21 seats contested by his party in 2015 assembly elections in the name of friendly fights.

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Updated:February 28, 2018, 11:14 PM IST
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Prohibition Was a Tool to Persecute Dalits, Says Jitan Ram Manjhi After Ditching Nitish Kumar
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav being garlanded along with former Bihar CM and HAM(S) Chief Jitan Ram Manjhi during a joint press conference in Patna on Wenesday. Manjhi quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA). (PTI Photo)
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Patna: Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday evening made it official that he would join the Lalu Yadav-led Mahagathbandhan in Bihar and said he would campaign for RJD candidates in the upcoming by-elections in the state.

Revealing his reasons to quit the NDA alliance, Manjhi said that Nitish Kumar government’s prohibition policy had become a tool to persecute Dalits in the state. He also cited the “faulty” sand mining policy that has rendered lakhs of labourers jobless and Nitish’s demand to extend reservations to upper castes as grounds to quit the government.

He also accused BJP, JD(U)’s alliance partner in the state, of backstabbing by fielding candidates in 16 out of the 21 seats contested by his party in 2015 assembly elections in the name of friendly fights.

The Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader has been bargaining for more say in the alliance for some time and had made his wish to fight from the Jehanabad seat in the bypoll clear. However, BJP told the JD(U) to contest from the seat.

With Manjhi, Lalu is attempting a realignment of political forces ahead of the 2019 General Elections by stitching a new caste combination of Yadavs, Muslims and Mahadalits. Manjhi’s decision is also seen as a coming of age moment for Lalu Yadav’s younger son and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

With the Muslim-Yadav combination accounting for about 30 percent vote share (Muslims – 16 percent, Yadav – 14 percent), already in Mahagathbandhan kitty, Manjhi’s entry means he will influence about 10 percent Mahadalit votes. Manjhi comes from Mushhar community.
| Edited by: Tarun Bhardwaj
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