After getting more seats than offered earlier, former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today said he was “fully satisfied” with the seat-sharing arrangement among NDA allies for contesting the state assembly polls.
He also sought to put an end to his tiff with fellow Dalit leader from the state and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
“I am fully satisfied with the decision over seat-sharing announced by BJP President Amit Shah. We are all working towards victory of NDA and the decision on seat sharing is acceptable to all,” he said.
Manjhi’s outfit Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) was given 20 seats as part of the seat-sharing pact. Some of its leaders will also contest on BJP symbol. Manjhi was earlier offered 13-15 of the state’s 243 assembly seats, which was increased to 20 after he dug in his heels.
Asked why he settled for lesser seats than LJP which has no member in the outgoing assembly, Manjhi said his party had brought up the issue before Shah but accepted the final decision announced by him.
“Whatever decision he has taken is fine. We have accepted it. We are satisfied. There are no conditions in a coalition,” he said, adding, “I had already offered unconditional support to Narendra Modi and told them (BJP) that I will be with NDA even if no seats are offered.”
The former chief minister said there was a delay in announcement of the seat-sharing formula as some of his party’s core group members were in Patna.
At one stage during the talks, marked by intense bargaining, Manjhi had sought parity with Paswan, claiming he was a bigger Dalit leader.
Asked if his differences with Paswan are over, Manjhi said, “He told me that he has nothing against me and explained to me everything during a journey on a flight. The matter ends there.”
To a question if he considered LJP as being run by one family, he said,”If some family is competent to be in politics, no one should have objections.”
On who is a bigger leader between him and Paswan, the HAM leader said,”It is for the people to decide.”
Asked whether he too will contest the upcoming polls, Manjhi, who was expelled from JD(U) after he refused to step down as chief minister, said,”I am considering that. I will decide soon.