Manjhi, Chirag Paswan

PATNA: After the announcement of Droupadi Murmu as the NDA candidate for the Presidential poll, Bihar’s two Dalit leaders — former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and Chirag Paswan have announced support to her.

Manjhi on Wednesday tweeted (in Hindi): “Our sister Droupadi Murmu is a pride of tribal people. I would like to congratulate her as NDA has declared her candidate for the highest post of the country. It is a great moment for us that a second leader from among us is going to become the President…” He also added the ‘Modi Hai To Mumkin Hai’ to his tweet.

Curent President Ram Nath Kovind is also a Dalit leader from Uttar Pradesh.

Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) has four MLAs in Bihar and each MLA has the power of 173 votes. Manjhi was not happy with the BJP as HAM, which is a part of NDA, was not given any seat during the MLC election. But now, his party has extended support to the NDA candidate as she belongs to the tribal community.

Chirag Paswan is another Dalit leader of Bihar who has lent support to NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu. “It is a proud moment for us that the NDA has selected a tribal leader for the highest post of the country. It would be for the first time that a tribal leader becomes President of India. LJP (Ram Vilas) gives full support to BJP’s decision,” Chirag Paswan, the sole MP of LJP (Ram Vilas) said.

Chirag Paswan is MP from Jamui in Bihar and the voting power of one MP is 700 votes. Sources from the BJP said that they earlier talked to these two leaders and asked them to vote for the NDA’s Presidential candidate. Murmu is a native of Odisha and she comes from Santali tribal family. She was also MLA in Biju Janata Dal and a minister in the Naveen Patnaik government. She also served as the Governor of Jharkhand from 2015- 2021.

Murmu will contest against socialist leader and former Union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, who is a candidate of 17 opposition parties for the Presidential election. He recently resigned from the Trinamool Congress to contest the polls.