New Delhi, Sep 14 (IANS) Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday proved to be a hard bargainer as his party Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) got its way among the NDA partners on the seat-sharing agreement, with 20 assembly seats in its kitty and five more on BJP tickets.
According to sources, the BJP also offered a Rajya Sabha berth to Manjhi to bring him on board.
Manjhi, who was demanding an equal number of seats as Ram Vilas Paswan’s LJP, got 20 seats as its quota, with five more candidates from his party to contest on BJP tickets.
“HAM has been given 20 seats and a few of its candidates will contest on the BJP symbol. The decision on the candidates would be taken by Manjhi ji. Whatever will be decided, we will accept it. There will no trouble,” BJP president Amit Shah said while announcing the seat-sharing agreement at a press conference at the BJP headquarters.
The Lok Janshakti Party has been given 40 seats, while the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) of Upendra Kushwaha managed to get 23 seats.
Earlier, the BJP had offered 15 seats to the HAM, which left Manjhi miffed.
Manjhi, who had questioned the LJP chief’s status as a leader of Dalits, also succeeded in getting tickets for five more legislators who had defected from the Janata Dal-United to Paswan’s LJP and eventually went with Manjhi when he broke away from Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United.
Paswan was strongly opposed to giving tickets to these legislators but was persuaded by BJP leaders after a series of meetings on Friday.