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Ahead of by-elections in Bihar, Grand Alliance appears to be under strain

Ahead of by-elections in Bihar, Grand Alliance appears to be under strain

Patna: Even though the Grand Alliance is yet to decide seat allotment for the by-polls on five Assembly segments and Samastipur Lok Sabha constituency, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) president Jitan Ram Manjhi Monday said they would contest Nathdwara vidhan sabha seat in Bhagalpur under all circumstances.

Manjhi, who had recently threatened to pull out of the five-party formation, said his party would field its candidate "har haalat mein" (under all circumstances) from the Nathdwara assembly seat in Bhagalpur district which has fallen vacant upon the sitting JD(U) MLA Ajay Mandals election to the Lok Sabha.

"After five assembly segments fell vacant in the state, we had initially wished to contest Kishanganj and Nathdwara. I had even spoken about this to Tejashwi Yadav (RJD heir apparent).

"However, taking into consideration the fact that Kishanganj was a sitting seat of the Congress our alliance partner we have forgone our claim on the same", Manjhi told reporters. "But, we will contest Nathdwara. Har haalat mein ladenge.

We have conveyed this to our alliance partners and reiterate our stand when coalition partners sit together later this week to decide respective candidates for the poll-bound seats. "In the meantime, we are undertaking a massive public outreach programme in Nathdwara, which we are confident of winning", he added.

The Grand Alliance which had come into being after Chief Minister Nitish Kumars JD(U) tied up with the RJD- Congress combine in 2015 now comprises RJD, Congress and HAM besides former Union minister Upendra Kushwahas RLSP and Bollywood set designer turned politician Mukesh Sahnis VIP.

Kumar returned to the NDA in July, 2017, about six months before Manjhi quit the BJP-led coalition and switched over.

Kushwaha followed suit 10 months later. Manjhis latest outbursts come less than two months after he had accused the Grand Alliance of having underestimated his party, just like the NDA did, and threatened to go it alone in the assembly polls due next year.

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