Patna: HAM-S chief Jitan Ram Manjhi addresses a press conference in Patna, on May 25, 2019. . Image Source: IANS News

Patna, May 25 : After being routed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the Lok Sabha polls, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief and former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi here on Saturday accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of marketing the army for election victory.

He said the BJP used the 'rastravad' (nationalism) to seek votes and the HAM had nothing to counter it with. "There was no reply to the NDA's 'rashtravad' poll plank. The Grand Alliance failed to counter it and that resulted in the unprecedented defeat," Manjhi said.

The HAM is an ally of the RJD-Congress-led Grand Alliance, which won only one of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar. The NDA won 39 seats.

Manjhi was defeated in Gaya, his home district, by the Janata Dal-United candidate Vijay Manjhi.

"The BJP successfully marketed army to win elections. Attention of the youth was diverted from real issues. We had no answer to that. We failed to reach out to voters to convince or impress them with our views," Manjhi said.

Even when the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government in 1971 forced 90,000 Pakistani soldiers to surrender, the army was not used for political purposes, the former Chief Minister recalled.

"The terror attack in Pulwama gave the BJP an opportunity to use it for political gains." Manjhi said.

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