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Manjhi insists he will address the Kishanganj rally along with

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Press Trust of India Patna
Under attack from Grand Alliance partners over his decision to share stage with Asaduddin Owaisi, HAM president Jitan Ram Manjhi Friday declared that he will attend the rally at Kishanganj but prevaricated in responding to queries whether he was mooting a third front with the AIMIM chief ahead of the Bihar assembly polls.
In his interaction with journalists here, Manjhi spoke with his trademark vacillation as he asserted that he is very much with the Grand Alliance but added that he will do a rethink if his demand for setting up the five-party groups coordination committee is not heeded.
I will attend the Kishanganj rally no matter what. Only unforeseen factors can prevent me from doing so. CAA and NRC are ripping apart the nation and I will stand by whoever opposes it. I do not care whom I will have to share the stage with, he said.
Manjhi had drawn flak from RJD and Congress, which dominate the Grand Alliance, and was accused of lending support to the Hyderabad MP in Bihar whom they dubbed as "BJPs B team.
It is not that I have not been with the Grand Alliance when any of its constituents held an event on a burning issue. Members of my party were on the streets last week when RJD had called a Bihar bandh. I could not do so because of ill health, he said.
But the fact remains that there is a complete lack of coordination in the Grand Alliance. A reason why I have been stressing on the need for setting up a coordination committee. Just look at the NDA parties like JD(U) and LJP are raising a similar demand within the BJP-led coalition though they are in power. We need it even more badly," the HAM president said.
Asked whether he was seeing in the AIMIM, which registered its maiden victory in Bihar in a by-poll to Kishanganj assembly seat two months ago, a possible ally for setting up a third front given his uneasy relationship with the RJD, Manjhi asserted that he was very much in the Mahagathbandhan (Grand Alliance)".
He, however, added in the same vein I am in the coalition till December 30 by when I expect a coordination committee to be set up. If that does not happen, we may take a decision in January (on whether to continue in the RJD-led coalition).
Manjhi has been sore ever since his party was given only three seats to contest in the Lok Sabha polls though it failed to win any of these. The three seats included Gaya from where he himself had contested and lost.
The HAM president has since then been in a rebellious mood, raising questions over the leadership capabilities of Tejashwi Yadav RJDs chief ministerial candidate

and throwing his own hat in the ring as the coalitions potential face for the assembly polls.
He followed it up with the averment that he was equally disgruntled with the Grand Alliance and the NDA

which he quit nearly two years ago but stayed on, queering the pitch for the RJD in the by-polls held in October.
Manjhi had fielded his candidate from Nathnagar in Bhagalpur alleging that the RJD gave ticket to its nominee reneging on an earlier promise of leaving it for HAM.
The split of votes helped Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U) to retain the seat by a wafer-thin margin though it lost a couple of others to the RJD and another to a BJP rebel.
Manjhis applause over AIMIMs victory in Kishanganj also raised many eyebrows since the party's candidate Qamrul Hoda had wrested the seat from the Congress, defeating the mother of local MP Mohd Javed who was in the fray in the by-poll necessitated by the son getting elected to Parliament.

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First Published: Dec 27 2019 | 5:45 PM IST

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