Patna: Jitan Ram Manjhi, a close confidant of Nitish Kumar was on Monday handpicked by the outgoing Bihar chief minister to be his successor.
The 68-year-old JD(U) MLA from the Makhdumpur (SC) seat in Jehanabad district, lost the Lok Sabha polls from the Gaya (SC) seat and was third behind winner BJP`s Hari Manjhi and RJD`s Ramji Manjhi.
The Dalit leader had served as a minister in the previous Congress and RJD governments before joining the JD(U) in 2005.
His stint in the Bihar Assembly started in 1980 and he was elected six times so far and was the SC & ST, Backward Caste and Extremely Backward caste welfare minister in the Nitish regime.
He became minister for the first time in the Chandrasekhar Singh-led Congress government in 1980 and was also a minister in the Bindeshwari Dubey government.
In 1990, he joined the RJD and was made Human Resources Development minister.
But after his name was embroiled in a corruption case of the Education Department during RJD rule, he joined the JD(U).
The veteran leader from Mahkar village of Gaya district was initially dropped in Kumar`s first government in November 2005 because of the Education Department corruption case, but, he was later brought back to the ministry.