Patna: With his remarks about upper caste people being foreigners causing flutter within JD(U), Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Sunday stuck to his comment that SCs and STs are original inhabitants of the country.
"My statement has been misunderstood. I had only said during a visit to a ST-dominated village in Bagha early this week that Scheduled Tribes (ST) people must wake up and take control of power as they are the original inhabitants along with SCs," Manjhi told reporters here.
"To boost morale of STs and SCs I had said this and never discussed about who came or went out of the country and at what point of time," he said on the sidelines of a function on National Press Day.
"How come I say that upper caste people are foreigners when the law says that one can get voting right and ownership right after staying at one place for 12 years... These upper castes are living here for 500 to 1,000 years so how can they be termed as outsiders?" he said clarifying his remarks.
Manjhi said even history books testify to his comments about SCs/STs the original inhabitants.
"Read Ancient History of R S Sharma and dozen of other books. They all say Adivasi (tribals) are original inhabitants of India," he said and described the controversy as handiwork of "vested interests".
JD(U) MLAs Anant Singh and Sunil Pandey have sought removal of Manjhi over his upper caste-foreigners remark. Even RJD and Congress, who are supporting the Manjhi ministry, advised the CM to concentrate on implementing roadmap of Nitish Kumar for Bihar instead of raking controversy through such comments.
Asked if he has been taken to task by JD(U) President Sharad Yadav for his controversial comment, the CM answered in negative.
"Why shall Sharad Yadav or Nitish Kumar express displeasure...Don't they understand what Manjhi is speaking is true," he said denying being hammered by leadership.
On his comment yesterday on turning into a supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi if he accords special category status to the state, Majhi said, "I will shout 'Modi Zindabad' if he gives special category status to Bihar."
"Let him (Narendra Modi) do this first," he said when asked if he was serious about his comment.
In reply to a question that BJP was claiming that they could topple his government in view of a large number of JD(U) Legislators turning rebels and flocking towards the saffron party, Manjhi said, "BJP is daydreaming...Their dream will never be true."