If you thought Jitan Ram Manjhi only caused embarrassment to his former party while he briefly ruled Bihar as chief minister, then think again.
His latest stinging attacks against the NDA leaders have left the BJP red-faced.
In his latest attacks, Manjhi targetted his NDA colleague and the leader of Lok Janshakti Party, Ram Vilas Paswan, who he felt was promoting dynasty politics.
He said, “Mr Paswan is promoting his son Chirag within the LJP at the cost of everyone else.”
Speaking at a press conference, Manjhi said that he and not Paswans was the true leader of all Mahadalits and the Paswan community in Bihar.
He added, ” Unka (RV Paswan) kaun hai? Chirag ji, Paras ji hain, Ram Chandra ji hain; bhai-bhatija se aage wo nahi badh sakte hain. Ye yahan ka Dusadh,Paswan samaaj bhali bhaanti samajhta hai, aise karte rahe to Schedule Caste mein ekta kabhi nhi hogi.”
Visibly embarrassed by Manjhi’s plainspeak in public, the BJP leaders have jumped in for the much-needed damage control. Senior BJP leader and a minister in Narendra Modi-led government, Anath Kumar, ‘advised’ Manjhi to show patience while speaking about other NDA colleagues.
Chirag Paswan, however, tried to underplay the significance of Manjhi’s attack saying ‘Our alliance has been strengthened after he joined us, he is a respected leader.’
He added, “I don’t want to comment on what he(Manjhi) said as I couldn’t understand the context he was speaking in.”
The former chief minister’s Hindustani Awam Morcha, Paswan’s LJP, and Union minister Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, are alliance partners in the BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
These comments are being seen as a response to an alleged statement by Paswan, who, a few days ago, had reportedly said that Manjhi was on trial with the NDA.
The NDA is yet to finalise its seat sharing arrangements for the upcoming Bihar elections. Analysts feel that sch differences will pose a huge dilemma for the BJP while distributing seats among alliance partners.