Bihar elections: Manjhi threatens, BJP gives in

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The BJP and Jitan Ram Manjhi have reached a seat-sharing agreement for the Bihar assembly elections with the former chief minister’s party being allotted 20 seats.

Announcing the breakup of seats to be contested, BJP president Amit Shah said, “Of the 243 seats in the Assembly, BJP will contest 160 seats, LJP 40 seats, RLSP 23 seats and Manjhi’s HAM will contest 20 seats.”

“There is no tug of war in the NDA over seat-sharing. The issue of chief ministership is to be decided by the NDA MLAs after polls,” Shah told the media in a press conference.

“All is well and a positive outcome is on expected lines”, a senior BJP leader was quoted as saying after talks with Manjhi’s Hindustani Avam Morcha (Secular) party, in Delhi.

The BJP may announce the deal during a press conference on the afternoon of 14 September.

After posing for photographs to signal an agreement, Manjhi drove out of Shah’s 11 Akbar Road house allegedly at great speed, his car hitting another the gate. Manjhi, 71, was in the seat next to the driver. No one was injured.

On 13 September, Manjhi threatened to reconsider continuing in the alliance if a “respectable” offer was not made after BJP agreed to spare 13 seats to 15 seats for them. However, there was no official confirmation about this from BJP.

Manjhi feels that his party needs to contest at least 10% of the total number of assembly seats to be considered a regional player.

Upendra Kushwaha has already made it clear that he must not be given short shrift; there are apprehensions that he might switch sides after winning a chunk of seats.

Meanwhile, The younger son of former Bihar Chief Minister and NDA ally, Jitan Ram Manjhi, was detained today for carrying Rs 4.65 lakh in cash, sources said. The police made the discovery while checking vehicles at a checkpoint at Maqdumpur police station, in Jehanabad district.

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