Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Tuesday said his Hindustani Awam Morcha must get the same number of seats and not less than what would be offered to former union minister Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, a late entrant into the "grand alliance".
"Under no circumstances would we agree to a number of seats that is less than what is given to Kushwaha. We are not demanding any specific number but our contention is we must not get less than RLSP. Rather, we should get more," the chief of Hindustani Awam Morcha told reporters in Patna.
On whether he would consider returning to the NDA if his demand went unheeded, Mr Manjhi said the question does not arise.
"Why would I have left NDA if I were to go back? When I joined mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) I had vowed that I will strengthen the hands of RJD chief Lalu Prasad. I am going to meet him shortly," Mr Manjhi said.
To a query as to what alternatives he had in case he did not get a favourable deal in the opposition alliance, Mr Manjhi said not fighting the polls could also be an option.
"A meeting of the grand alliance constituents is scheduled on February 18. I am hopeful that things will be ironed out by then. The opposition alliance will be able to finalise its seat-sharing formula before the assembly session ends on February 20," he said.
He said the resignations of HAM national spokesman Danish Rizwan and state president Vrishan Patel have been accepted and there is no possibility of their return to the party.
Mr Manjhi denied allegations by Mr Patel that he was in touch with NDA leaders, exploring the possibility of returning if the grand alliance did not give a good offer.
Upendra Kushwaha, whose RLSP was an NDA ally since the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when it won all the three seats it contested, resigned from the union council of ministers and severed ties with the BJP-led coalition in December last year.
Although there has been no formal announcement on the number of seats each party in the Mahagathbandhan would be contesting, RLSP sources said an agreement has been reached where the party would get four - Motihari, Ujiyarpur, Gopalganj and Karakat.
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