New Delhi: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav here on Friday proposed roping in former Bihar chief minister and Janata Dal-United rebel Jitan Ram Manjhi for upcoming Bihar assembly polls, according to sources.

Sources said Lalu Prasad mooted the idea at a meeting of leaders of Janata Parivar, which Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar skipped despite being in Delhi. JD-U chief Sharad Yadav was, however, present, sources said.

The JD-U leaders played down Nitish Kumar’s absence from the meeting, saying he underwent a small eye surgery.

“He has been advised rest, so he could not attend the meeting,” a close aide of Nitish Kumar told IANS.

The meeting was called to discuss formalising the merger of erstwhile Janata Parivar’s factions, ahead of upcoming Bihar assembly polls later this year.

Lalu Prasad, according to sources, proposed uniting all anti-BJP parties, including Left parties, for Bihar elections.

“Lalu ji suggested there should be a grand alliance of all anti-BJP parties,” an RJD leader told IANS after the meeting.

Manjhi was picked by Nitish Kumar to succeed him as chief minister when he decided to step down in the wake of the JD-U’s embarrassing defeat in the parliamentary elections last year.

However, Manjhi refused to step down and make way for Kumar when he wanted to return to the chief minister’s office nearly 10 months later. Manjhi was expelled from the JD-U, creating a constitutional crisis in the state, and the governor asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly.

Manjhi, however, resigned a day before vote of the confidence on February 20 this year.

Barely a week later, he floated a new political outfit, Hindustani Awam Morcha.

Sources said that disagreements continue between the RJD and the JD-U over seat sharing for Bihar elections.

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