The chief of the Hindustani Awam Morcha Secular (HAMS), which is part of the Bihar Grand Alliance, has quit as minister, accusing chief minister Nitish Kumar of putting pressure on him to merge his party with the JDU.
Santosh Kumar Suman, who was SC-ST welfare minister, said his party has not left the Grand Alliance but added that joining the BJP was among the options to be considered.
The seven-party Grand Alliance has 164 MLAs, including four of the HAMS, in the 243-member Assembly. The turmoil comes at a time Nitish has been spearheading efforts to unite the Opposition across the country to counter the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. An Opposition meeting is scheduled in Patna on June 23.
“I have submitted my resignation to chief minister Nitish Kumar. He had been asking us to merge our party with the JDU and putting pressure on us for quite some time. We did not accept the proposal, but it did not leave us with any other option but to resign from the cabinet,” Suman, the sole minister from the HAMS, told reporters.
The HAMS leader said his party had not been invited to the June 23 meeting. “We will discuss with party leaders to decide whether to stay with the Grand Alliance or go it alone or team up with the BJP,” Suman added. Suman is the son of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who had met home minister Amit Shah in Delhi in April.