Jitan Ram Manjhi: Bihar neta who jumped BJP ship at the right time

The right exit

Of all the turncoats, the smartest has turned out to be Jitan Ram Manjhi, who jumped ship at the right time. The former chief minister, who quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) on the eve of the by-elections because he wanted the Jehanabad seat and the Janata Dal United-Bharatiya Janata Party combine would not give it to him, was exultant after the Rashtriya Janata Dal won the seat. The Hindustani Awam Morcha’s national spokesperson, Ajay Yadav said the NDA had paid the price for underestimating their party and its leader Manjhi. “The poor, Dalit communities consider him their leader. His joining the Mahagathbandhan has made the alliance stronger in the region” the party said.

Tell-tale signs

To celebrate the birth anniversary of Kanshi Ram, the founder of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Mayawati’s mentor, the BSP supremo addressed a huge rally in Chandigarh after the Gorakhpur-Phulpur victory. The slogan was: Save the constitution, save reservations. Mayawati spared no one. She spoke with scorn about the Congress in Punjab that had never done anything for Dalits. She said the party had denied Ambedkar the Bharat Ratna. She attacked the BJP and RSS and criticised VP Singh for appropriating the credit for reservations. But the one party she conspicuously did not attack — nothing at all — was the Samajwadi Party. Is this a sign of things to come?

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