Last Updated: Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 03:38
Zee Media Bureau
Patna: Putting an end to the political crisis in Bihar, Nitish Kumar on Monday announced name of his close aide Jitan Ram Manjhi as the next chief minister of the state.
Addressing reporters here, Kumar said, “He (Jeetan Manjhi) is a very experienced leader who has contributed a lot to party.”
Reports claim that the Dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi along with Kumar went at the Governor's residence today before making this big announcement.
Manjhi currently hold the SC/ST, OBS, EBC Welfare Ministry. He is a Mahadalit from the Musahar community who occupy the lowest strata of the society in the state.
By appointing Manjhi, the former Bihar CM has sent a strong signal that he is trying to uplift the Mahadalits, a category that he has been actively wooing in the last few years.
Soon after Nitish Kumar's announcement, Manjhi, a senior JD(U) leader from Gaya constituency said, “I was surprised, I never thought I would be the CM ever.”
Kumar, who had resigned from his post on Saturday, remained firm on stepping down as the chief minister of Bihar even as the entire team of JD(U) leaders firmly backed him as their party chief.
However, the ex-Bihar CM today said that he would take on the responsibility again if he wins the mandate in the 2015 state Assembly polls.
"If people give me mandate in 2015 I am ready to take up responsibility again," Kumar told his supporters gathered outside after the crucial JD(U)LP meeting at his official residence.
Meanwhile, Bihar BJP leaders and their ally Ram Vilas Paswan today dismissed Nitish Kumar's resignation as a "scripted drama" enacted to save his leadership in JD(U) amidst a growing clamour against him within the party.
Earlier, addressing a press conference in the capital city today, Kumar, who was accompanied by state JD(U) president Basistha Narayan Singh and leader Rajiv Ranjan Lallan, said his decision to quit was not a sentimental one but a 'hard political decision' and urged his supporters to brace for a 'big fight' in Assembly polls scheduled next year.
"My responsibility has rather increased to guide government as well strengthen party in the state," he said.
Kumar said though there was no shortage of numbers for him, he decided to quit owning moral responsibility for the defeat of the party in the parliamentary polls in the state.
JD(U) managed to hold on to merely two seats this time from a high of 20 in 2009. BJP gained from the separation with it and won 22 seats on its own and helped new allies LJP win 6 and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) 3.
Attacking BJP for charging him with indulging in horse
trading to protect his government, Kumar mocked at its senior leader Sushil Kumar Modi for claiming that 50 JD(U) MLAs were in touch with it.
"Even after resigning I did not dissolve the assembly to give scope for forming a new government ... I have given BJP 48 hours to form a new government with the help of 50 JD(U) MLAs ... Unki pol khul gayi (their claim has been laid bare)," he said sarcastically.
Kumar said JD(U) enjoyed comfortable majority in the assembly as besides its own strength of 117 MLAs including the speaker, it enjoyed support of 4 Congress MLAs, 1 CPI and 3 Independents.
Upping the ante against its one time alliance partner JD(U), the Bharatiya Janata Party had yesterday asked the Bihar Governor to dissolve the state Assembly.
“We met the Governor and said a minority government has been running in Bihar for the last 11 months,” BJP leader Sushil Modi.
After meeting with the state governor DY Patil, slamming JD(U), BJP leaders said the unstable state government is hampering development work in Bihar.
He added, “Bihar is politically unstable right now, we spoke to the Governor about the horsetrading going on, which isn't good for Bihar.”
“They (JDU) are plotting so that elections aren't held in Bihar but they will be held in 6 months,” LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan said.
After registering a landslide victory in alliance with BJP, LJP had said that Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government may fall soon and a mid-term elections in the state by October-November this year.
With agency inputs
First Published: Monday, May 19, 2014, 18:50