Election enthusiasts have intensified in Bihar. Smaller parties from both main alliances (NDA and Grand Alliance) are upset. While the resentment of the NDA's constituent LJP appears to be limited to minor rhetoric, the Mahagathbandhan partner Jitan Ram Manjhi (Hindustani Awam Morcha President) has openly held a rebellious tone. The Congress is trying for arbitration and Manjhi has given a few more days for his 'final decision'. However, he calls it an 'attempt to get the grand alliance on track'. Manjhi Ne Vijay Kumar Jha Talking to said that he has advised the Congress that you get out of the coalition, take different leadership, we will all come together. Also, amid speculation that he would join the Nitish camp, he said that he has met Nitish Kumar as the Chief Minister of Bihar and will continue to do so. Read the conversation with Manjhi (also the video of the interview below):
Question: Why are some rebels showing their attitude, giving an ultimatum, what do they want?
Answer: There can be a supremacy of a party in the coalition, but everything should be done by what they say, it should not be the same. This is not a democratic setup. Therefore, since 2019, we have been demanding that a coordination committee should be formed by joining everyone in the grand alliance. Decisions (political or other) should be taken only after that. But the people of RJD say that the coalition should follow what they decide. If people do not obey them, then go where the mind is. We say that if there is an alliance, then we should decide together. Therefore, to say that our activity is otherwise is not correct. We want to get people on the right track to walk on democratic lines. We want to take the alliance on the right track.
Question: Who told you that all colleagues have to agree with what RJD is saying. Who does not agree, where does he want to go?
Answer: There has been talk in newspapers. You will ask each man. Everyone said that such a man said that everything is right here. A man is a surveyor. What they said, what they decided, that's all (that's all). If the people of the coalition have to believe the same thing, then believe it or else go out. take way. This is the reason that whether Upendra Kushwaha ji or Sahni Saheb or Congress or we (HAM), everybody is doing the same thing that they should keep pace with each other. The Coordination Committee should be formed and thereafter there is a decision. Which man has said We will not speak to you right now (name disclosed). But this has become a very publicized thing. Everyone who is interested in the politics of Bihar knows who has said this.
Question: When you have got the indication that you will not be heard, then what are the next steps you are going to take?
Answer: We had a target till 25th of June, but in the meantime the Congressmen interfered. We spoke to him in Delhi. He asked for a week's time. That time expired on 1 July. When we spoke on the second of July, Shakti Singh Gohil said that he would come and talk. Here you must have heard that two days have come and talks were going on. But meanwhile, there was a lockdown again in Patna from today, on which he said that we could not do the vigil which we had to do till 16. So after 16 July everyone will talk. We therefore wait and we stand by your decision. Congress and others also said. We will try to convince the RJD not to stick to its stubbornness and form a Coordination Committee in view of democratic values. And, take all action in the light of his decision. It means to say that from 15 to 20 we are again looking forward to the mediation of the Congress. We want this – no man should say that the Grand Alliance is broken because of such a man. They should say that if helplessness has occurred or some party men have gone out. They want to give a message in public. In this sequence, when Congressmen have appeared, then they are also giving them a chance. There are two chances, the third chance is 15-20. They also give. After this, if not, then after 21st, we will work under the new strategy.
Question: You have not thought what would you do if not done, you must have made up your mind, only you have to declare?
Answer: We will not be able to share all this with the media and you, because this is part of the strategy. The strategy will be revealed on time.
Question: Yesterday, the Congress leaders might have had tea with you. The day before, he had dinner with Tejashwi Yadav. What happened on this, what was told about it, would you like to tell anything?
Answer: It will repeat. We talked, they are trying. Negotiations are going on. Not only did he talk to Tejashwi ji and Rabri ji, but he would be talking to Bhupendra Kushwaha ji today. Must have spoken to Sahni ji. Moreover, after talking to us, they also went to the office of the Communist Party of India and there is talk. Which will be the new partner of our alliance – if we come. There is an exercise that there should not be any break in the Grand Alliance. And who said what and what was the response? We will not say anything on this. We are hopeful that there will be no wrong in the Grand Alliance. It will come on the right path and will join together in the 2020 election.
Question: It is coming to hear that RJD's stand is that he saw you with both the coalitions in both elections (Lok Sabha and previous elections). They believe that in both elections, your vote bank, you could not get the vote transferred. Because of this they do not want to pay attention to you. Do you think this is becoming a weak link for you?
Answer: It is not so. If we could not make the transfer, then why were we called in the coalition. We were in the NDA. The situation is the same today. Our vote will be transferred. Actually, they have got another target. They are working under the Hidden Agenda. It is that if our vote is cut / shattered, then someone else has to benefit from it. Which you want to benefit. We do not want to be named. It needs to be understood. Hidden agenda, for your selfishness. He is doing his work in the name of his lawsuit and his father's bail. And, she is no longer obscure. Has become very clear. We will hear it in Bihar as well as in Delhi. So he is working on his agenda. There is no question of no vote transfer. As far as the vote is concerned, the family or organization in Parliament on the basis of which they say they will get votes, their vote was also cut by 40 percent. Even today the situation is such that their vote percentage will be cut in the assembly. So it is not fair to say who transferred, who did not. This will not be a fair thing. The thing is that each one is two or one is also 11. Today there was a need to do 11, one by two would be a loss. And people understand this very well. But people are working under the hidden agenda and hence it seems that people are not giving preference. Anything has its way. That path is taken out.
Question: In five years, you fought two elections. Your party did not do well in both. What do you think you have prepared in the meantime, so that your importance in this election will increase more in the eyes of your alliance partners than before and listening to you will prove to be a profitable deal for them. What was your preparation in these five years, election?
Answer: This is to be understood. He fought in the elections. We fought 21 seats. We got 3.7 percent of the votes polled. Only on fighting 21 seats. We also got 19 percent votes in the Lok Sabha. Our vote percentage is not low. Will also move forward.
As far as preparation is concerned, we are not fighting on the basis of caste, religion, force and money. We are fighting a battle to change the system. That day we had the opportunity to become CM or before when the party was formed. Our party's preface is that we talk about the poor. They do not talk about caste and religion. So, we talk about the system. Does not talk of change of power. Suppose we have youth here. They are also going on the wrong path, by giving them reservation in contract, we did the work of returning them to the right path. If Nitish Kumar had extended it today, those people would have been fine to a great extent. There is a case of women empowerment. We had decided that there would be a child of any social or economic level, from Kendriya Vidyalaya to PG, to provide free education to her. Today, 76% of the farmers are in Bihar. Their situation today is that many of them are getting destroyed due to electricity bill. We promised that we will forgive the power of those who have five lands. In the context of land reform, we had said that by June 2015, any man without land – cultivable and habitable land – will be separated from us. No matter what the land is. If we had to pay even after purchasing, then at the market rate we would buy them and give them one acre of land for the house. For farming. Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu brought these issues to us. Unfortunately, it was unheard of in Bihar. We will contest and fight on that issue. Today it is a case of unemployed. Reservation is a matter of reservation for the schedule cast in the judiciary. There should be reservation in private sector and promotion. There should be a common schooling system. Baba Ambedkar had said in 1932 that we should have a double voter list. Like in MLC there are graduates and there are teachers. They vote differently. Similarly, SC voters have SC voters. They develop from that. Unfortunately, no one is paying attention to these issues. We focus on those issues. We would like to increase this further through data. It will be a great pleasure to keep this thing in our public domain. We understand that today SC class is in a poor condition in 73 years. If we take these four issues, then the situation can be very good.
Question: Politically, there is a publicity about you in the RJD camp that you contacted Nitish Kumar. He is saying that you merge your party under his JD (U). We will not make you part of the alliance. Perhaps because of this the RJD camp is thinking that you are changing their mind. What is the truth in this?
Answer: Politics is a game of possibilities. Today Nitish became bad for him. And, he talked about forming a government with Nitishji and contesting elections. Today, he says about the BJP. There was a time when he formed a government with the BJP. Politics is accounted for. Many decisions are taken in public interest. And now when we are trying for the Grand Alliance. We are increasing the time considering the Congress's point. Where and with whom we will go, if we want to contest the elections, then definitely we will include our agenda on the problems we talked about in the public interest. Surely we will be with them. But as far as the Grand Alliance and the RJD are concerned. Now you must have heard that the four issues that are mentioned… Bihar legislators met on these issues. In 40, 32-34 MLAs were met and from that, a very good message was sent to India that Bihar has at least been the land of revolution. An example is going on from there. There was talk of talking in Delhi too, but Lalu ji's party called his people back and put them in the trenches. We say that we have questions about this matter that he says that the SC and reservation are in favor, then why did he do this? Second thing – our leaders, as CM. He had to remove them. Raising Raghunath Jha Ji stopped our SC leader from becoming CM. It is our thing, so Nitish today people or we also say that Nitish Kumar cheated us. But the biggest deception was done by Lalu ji. The Governor and the President went and even pleaded to remove us. We say that you are against SC or reservation, so in this situation we want to understand and explain. Make a Coordination Committee not to do such a thing. SC, go ahead with the talk of poor and extremely backward. Support us in reservation. Today we are talking about 90 per cent in reservation. The larger the number of people, the more share they will get. But where are you today? Today our population is 85 or 90 percent. 10 percent got reservation. We welcome that. But it is also 85–90 percent here. They should also get that reservation. And, the way 10 per cent got reservation and their case was put in the ninth list of the constitution. In the same way, put our issue in the ninth list, 85% to 90%. Then there is the Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, which was tortured by the Supreme Court in some form. Then the Parliament resumed it. But the situation is bad. Our people are not working according to the Act. Therefore, we will also try to put the Act in the ninth list of the Constitution. That is why we are going to take all these issues together. Otherwise it is certain that we will take these issues in the society and say that we will support them.
Question: How many options are there in front of you in view of the situations. If one listens to you, what other option is there?
Answer: We do not think of any alternative. Already said that we are not interested in changing the government, in becoming an MLA.
Question: So why is in contact with Nitish Kumar?
Answer: How do you know? He is the CM of Bihar. Recently our MLC went to meet. We also went to meet. There are many things to do. अगर सीएम हमारे समय में लालू जी थे या और कोई हों तो क्या वे नहीं मिलते थे। उसी प्रकार से आज बिहार के मुख्यमंत्री नीतीश हैं। अगर हम उनके नजदीक जाकर काम नहीं कराएंगे, तो हम जन रुचि को धोखा देते हैं। इसलिए हमको तो मिलना चाहिए, बल्कि हम उनसे कम मिलते हैं। यही जो आपका प्रश्न है, उससे डर कर। हमने अब तय किया है कि हम उनसे जल्दी-जल्दी मिलेंगे और क्षेत्र और समाज के काम कराएंगे।
सवालः आपने कहा कि नीतीश कुमार ने आपको धोखा दिया। वह धोखा किसे कह रहे हैं, आपको सीएम पद से हटवाया था?
जवाबः भ्रम में वह हो गए थे। यह बात आपने अगर निकाली है तो वह कंफ्यूजन में हो गए थे। याद करिए, 2005 को। उन्होंने तब हमें कैबिनेट में रखा था। दो मिनट के अंदर ही आप लोगों ने कह दिया था कि दागी मंत्री है। उस वक्त डिग्री घोटाला का केस हम पर शुरू हुआ था। वैसी, परिस्थिति में उन्होंने कहा कि लोग दागी कहते हैं। हमने दो मिनट भी नहीं कहा और उन्हीं से कागज मांगकर के इस्तीफा लिख दिया था और फिर मंत्रिमंडल से हट गए थे। आज भी हम कहते हैं कि जो कुछ भी हैं नीतीश जी के चलते हैं। अगर नीतीश कुमार चाहते तो कहते (हटने के समय) कि मांझी जी अब हो गया है। आप बहुत गलत काम कर रहे हैं…। हम एक मिनट भी नहीं रहते, इस्तीफा दे देते। लेकिन तब उन्होंने लालू और बाकी लोगों की मदद ली। किसी ने कहा कि मार देंगे। कोई बोला था कि जीतन राम मांझी पागल हो गए हैं। वैसी परिस्थिति में हम नीतीश जी को कहना चाहते हैं कि हां, आपने गलती की। और, उन्होंने कहा कि मांझी को सीएम बनाकर गलती की। हमने कहा था- गलती नहीं, भारी गलती की। इसलिए कि मांझी एससी हैं और महादलित परिवार से हैं। नौ महीनों में मैंने बता दिया रबड़ स्टांप नहीं हूं। बता दिया कि काम कर सकते हैं। इसलिए गलती मान ली, जो सबसे बड़ी बात है। हमने दूसरे रूप में साबित किया। फिर भी हम मान कर चलते हैं कि गलतियां तकीनीकी तौर पर हो गई होंगी। पर हमको सीएम के पास जाना चाहिए और काम लेना चाहिए।
सवालः क्या बिहार में एनडीए और महागठबंधन के अलावा तीसरे विकल्प की संभावना है, अगर हां तो किस रूप में?
जवाबः हमारी कल कांग्रेसियों से इस बारे में बात हुई है। हमने कहा कि अगर राजद के लोग हिडन एडेंडा के तहत काम कर रहे हैं, जिससे भाजपा को फायदा होने वाला है। ऐसी हालत में बिहार को अगर चाहते हैं कि भाजपा मुक्त देखें, तब कांग्रेस को अपना इतिहास समझते हुए स्वतंत्र राजनीति करे। उसमें हम लोग बाकी दल के लोग हैं। चाहें रालोसपा, हम, सीपीआई और साहनी जी हों जाएंगे उनके साथ में…एक अच्छा विकल्प बन जाएगा। वैसी परिस्थिति में बिहार में नई राजनीति की संरचना होगी और बिहार में राजनीति भी बदल जाएगी। बशर्ते कांग्रेस इस बात पर आगे बढ़े।