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Manjhi accords himself status of kingmaker.

DISMISSED as the rubber stamp in Bihar politics not so long ago, former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi now claims to have the largest vote bank at his disposal in the poll- bound state.

Manjhi, who has floated a new political outfit called the Hindustani Awam Morcha and joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party recently for the upcoming Assembly elections, said it was because of his formidable vote bank that all the parties had vied with each other to form an electoral alliance with him.

" I have got about 22- 23 per cent vote bank, which is bigger than anybody else in Bihar"he said. " Apart from the Mahadalits, the Muslims and the upper castes are solidly behind me. The poor people are ready to avenge my humiliation

humiliation in the coming polls."Manjhi said it was due to this reason that all the parties right from the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress and the BJP wanted to ally with him.

" Laluji also had a soft corner for me and wanted to forge an alliance with me as did the Congress"he said. " The BJP also gave an offer for a tie- up."The 69- year- old Mahadalit leader said he had decided to join hands with the BJP after Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and RJD president Lalu Prasad stitched their coalition for the upcoming polls.

" My main objective is to oust the Nitish government from power"he said.

Manjhi, who was removed as chief minister by the Janata Dal- United earlier this year, said that the union would not help Nitish and Lalu in the polls.

" Laluji is not going to be benefitted following his association with Nitish"he said. " It will be Nitish who may profit from this alliance."The HAM leader said the Yadav voters in the state were not happy with Lalu joining hands with Nitish. " The Nitish- Lalu alliance has made our job easier.

The Muslim- Yadav vote bank of Lalu has slipped out of his hands in Bihar."Meanwhile, Manjhi has decided to vacate his chief ministerial bungalow on 1 Aney Marg later this month. His party leaders said that he would shift to 12 Strand Road bungalow that had been allotted to him earlier even though it was yet to be furnished by the state government.

The leaders said they would like to see whether Nitish would move into the bungalow officially designated for the CM.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jun 19, 2015
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