Patna: Under attack from BJP for his comment that seven union ministers from Bihar would not be allowed entry into state, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Tuesday retracted and termed the comment as 'sweet joke'.
He, however, accused Narendra Modi's government of ignoring the state.
"It was 'meetha majak' (sweet joke)... I never meant it (central ministers will not be allowed entry into the state)," Manjhi said in his speech after presenting the ninth annual report of JD(U) government.
BJP had taken exception to Manjhi's remarks against seven union ministers who he had sarcastically described as 'sat bhaiya' (seven brothers). Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also mentioned it during his election rally in Jharkhand last week.
JD(U) central leadership including President Sharad Yadav had reprimanded Manjhi for the comment.
Manjhi, however, made a scathing attack on the BJP government at the Centre for allegedly ignoring the interests of Bihar.
Modi, he said, had failed to provide special category status which he had promised during the Lok Sabha poll campaign.
He also criticised the lowering of developmental funds under Indira Awas Yojna and MGNREGA and said the state had not been reimbursed Rs 1000 crore it had spent in the past on repair of national highways running through it.
Manjhi, who was flanked by his ministerial colleagues, appealed to the Prime Minister to accord due assistance to Bihar.
"Let bygones be bygones ... Give Bihar its due by granting it special category status and other assistance," he added.