Cabinet expansion only after talks: Manjhi

Amid intense speculation about cabinet expansion in Bihar with new allies RJD and Congress joining the ministry, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday denied any immediate move and said the matter would be decided by top leaders of the three parties.

PTI| Updated: Sep 15, 2014, 19:13 PM IST

Patna: Amid intense speculation about cabinet expansion in Bihar with new allies RJD and Congress joining the ministry, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday denied any immediate move and said the matter would be decided by top leaders of the three parties.

"I do not see any immediate expansion of cabinet," Manjhi told reporters after the "Janata ke Darbar me Mukhya Mantri" programme.

"RJD President Lalu Prasad has just been discharged from hospital after heart operation and he has been advised restrain for 1-2 months," he said.

"Nitish Kumar and JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and Congress leaders along with Lalu Prasad would sit at an appropriate time and if they decide so, they will tell me and I will do the needful," Manjhi said.

After 6-4 victory in recent Assembly bypoll, speculation is rife about RJD and Congress joining Manjhi cabinet to further cement their relationship ahead of the crucial Assembly election next year.

Manjhi said that recently BJP leader Sushil Modi charged me with announcing opening up branches of Patna High Court at Gaya, Purnea and Bhagalpur which was not true.

"I had merely said that I have sent the demands of the people in this regard to the Supreme Court and waiting for its recommendations...How can I announce opening of HC branches on my own...Though I hail from dalit community, I have this much knowledge at least," Manjhi said.

"Sushil Modi is in a hurry to become CM and is also suffering from a disease to be seen in news everyday and due to this, makes baseless allegations against me," he said.

Manjhi also blamed media for "twisting" facts regarding increasing population of dalits.

"I had said that if actual counts of dalits are done for voting purposes, it will go past 22 per cent instead of 16 per cent as recorded by fault...The media twisted the facts to blame me that I am asking dalits to increase its population," he clarified over a recent controversy.