Ji­tan Ram Man­jhi to be New Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - ASHOK MISHRA

SC/ST wel­fare min­is­ter Ji­tan Ram Man­jhi, a close con­fi­dant of Ni­tish Ku­mar, was on Mon­day hand­picked by the out­go­ing Bi­har chief min­is­ter to be his suc­ces­sor. Ku­mar, ac­com­pa­nied by Man­jhi and other party lead­ers, drove down to the Raj Bha­van on Mon­day evening and handed over the let­ter to the Bi­har Gover­nor DY Patil for stak­ing claim to form the next govern­ment headed by Man­jhi.

“We have handed over the let­ter to the gover­nor along with the letters of sup­port from one CPI MLA and two in­de­pen­dents. We have in­ti­mated the gover­nor that Ji­tan Ram Man­jhi will be the leader of the JD(U) leg­is­la­ture party. The ex­ist­ing strength of the house is 239 and we have the ma­jor­ity to form the govern­ment. It’s now for the gover­nor to take a call on govern­ment for­ma­tion,” Ku­mar told re­porters out­side the Raj Bha­van.

A Ni­tish loy­al­ist, sixty-year-old Man­jhi is known to be a soft-spo­ken politi­cian who comes from a Ma­hadalit com­mu­nity, a con­stituency as­sid­u­ously wooed by Ku­mar dur­ing his eight-and-a-half-year ten­ure as chief min­is­ter. Man­jhi will be the first chief min­is­ter from the Musha­har caste (a Ma­hadalit). By nom­i­nat­ing Man­jhi, the JD(U) MLA from Makhdumpur, as the chief min­is­ter, Ku­mar will hope to but­tress his po­si­tion among the so­cially dis­ad­van­taged group to re- claim his lost ground af­ter the drub­bing he re­ceived in the Lok Sabha elec­tions. Out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats, JD(U) could man­age to win only two seats (20 in 2009 polls).

Ear­lier in the day, Ku­mar said MLAs were ini­tially re­luc­tant to ac­cept any­one other than him as their leader, but they later agreed. “I spoke to them in­di­vid­u­ally and they fi­nally agreed that my de­ci­sion to demit the of­fice was ap­pro­pri­ate. In fact, they were proud of my de­ci­sion which I be­lieve will set new stan­dards of moral­ity in po­lit­i­cal life. To­day, we are faced with a very un­prece­dented sit­u­a­tion and so an un­prece­dented de­ci­sion had to be taken,” he said.

NI­TISH KU­MAR Out­go­ing Bi­har Chief Min­is­ter We have handed over the let­ter to the gover­nor along with the letters of sup­port from 1 CPI MLA & 2 in­de­pen­dents

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