Expelled Janata Dal-United leader and former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday launched a new party -- Hindustani Awam Morcha -- to counter the Janata Parivar. The party will contest alone all the 243 seats in Bihar polls scheduled for later this year.
Former Bihar minister Shakuni Chaudhary has been appointed as Bihar president of the HAM. But, neither the name of Manjhi nor that of 17 other rebel JD-U MLAs figure in the list of the new party.
"We will soon approach the Election Commission for registration of the new party HAM with a flag (green on top and bottom while middle portion will be white with the word HAM)," Manjhi flanked by Shakuni Chaudhary and two rebel JD-U MLAs Nitish Mishra and Anil Kumar, told reporters. "Once the new party is registered we will become part of it," Manjhi and others said.
After being expelled from the JD-U and removed from the chief minister's chair, Manjhi and his supporting MLAs had floated a non-political organisation Hundustani Awam Morcha, which was given the shape of a political party by him.
Manjhi and his supporting MLAs had earlier claimed that once the merger of splinter parties into Janata Parivar was completed and JD-U leaves its arrow symbol they would claim it by remaining in the JD-U itself.
But, with the process of merger and decision on a new symbol and flag of the unified Janata Parivar taking time, Manjhi and supporters decided to launch a new party.
Names of 108 leaders were announced in the Bihar unit of the party. It comprises former Union minister Devendra Prasad Yadav, ex-MP Brahamdeo Anand Paswan and former state ministers and Legislators like Ganesh Yadav, Ram Kumar Yadav, Om Prakash Paswan, K D Yadav and Ramchandra Prasad Singh. However, some well-known faces like Narendra Singh, Brishen Patel and Shahid Ali Khan were not present at the launch.
Manjhi spitted venom against his mentor Nitish Kumar and identified him as the new party's "number one enemy". On expelled Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, Manjhi said he was welcome to join hands with him.
Asked if the new party could enter into alliance with the Congress, Manjhi said, "We will keep a distance from any party having any kind of tie-up with Nitish Kumar."