Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday charged the BJP with trying to divide the people of the country and whip up communal passions by changing names of towns in states ruled by the party.
Manjhi said the Grand Alliance in Bihar, which comprises his Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), Lalu Prasad's RJD and the Congress, was committed to defeating the BJP in the state and prevent it from returning to power at the Centre.
"People have been cheated by the BJP government at the Centre in the name of its so-called welfare schemes. People were given free gas cylinders under the Ujjwala scheme only to get refills at exorbitant rates later on", Manjhi said here while inaugurating his party's district office.
"To divert public attention from its failures, the BJP has embarked on a divisive agenda as part of which communal passions are being whipped up for electoral gains. The change in names of towns etc. can be seen in this backdrop", the HAM president said.
"The Mahagathbandhan will foil the BJP's evil designs as it will defeat the party and its allies in the crucial state of Bihar in the Lok Sabha polls next year. This would put hurdles in the BJP's attempts to retain power", he said.
Manjhi's comments come in the backdrop of the famous city of Allahabad being renamed as "Prayagraj" by the Yogi Adityanath government in neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh.
Moreover, the Mughalsarai railway junction has also been named after RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyay after the Narendra Modi government at the Centre approved a proposal to this effect moved by the Yogi government.
Incidentally, Nawada happens to be the Lok Sabha seat of senior BJP leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh who had earlier this week demanded that the name of Bakhtiyarpur town, situated on the outskirts of Patna, be renamed.
Singh had lauded the Yogi Adityanath government and favoured renaming of all towns and localities across the country which have been named after muslim rulers.
Manjhi became the Chief Minister in 2014 after Nitish Kumar stepped down taking moral responsibility for the JD(U)'s humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls. However, Manjhi quit the party and floated his own outfit the following year when he was made to resign and make way for the return of Kumar to the post.
Manjhi joined the BJP-led NDA and fought the 2015 assembly polls with HAM as one of its constituents, but ended up as the sole member to bag a seat in the Vidhan Sabha. Kumar, who returned to power with a thumping majority and as a candidate of the Grand Alliance, walked out of the coalition last year.
Manjhi switched over to the Grand Alliance earlier this year and secured a seat in the state legislative council for his son Santosh Manjhi with the help of the RJD.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)