In a fresh controversial remark, Bihar CM Jeetan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday said he would deny entry to seven Union ministers from the state, if they failed to bring desired assistance for the region.
“Satbhaiya ko Bihar nahi ghusne denge (Won’t allow the seven brothers to enter Bihar)”, Manjhi said as he accused the Centre of ignoring the state’s interests. The CM was speaking at a function on the occasion of ‘World Toilet Day’. Though Manjhi did not take names, the seven ministers he referred to were Radha Mohan Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan (cabinet ministers), Rajiv Pratap Rudy (MoS-Independent charge), Upendra Kushwaha, Ram Kripal Yadav and Giriraj Singh (all MoS).
The BJP sharply reacted to the CM’s statement, calling it “irresponsible”.
Meanwhile, in another bid to position himself as the Dalit face of JD(U), Manjhi said he became a CM in the course of his long struggle and he would not be surprised if he became Prime Minister someday through his struggle.
“Thokar khate khate CM ban gaye, kahi thokar mein PM na ban jaye. Hum Mahadalit thokar hi khate hain (I have become CM after facing hardship, and might one day become Prime Minister also through the same struggle. We, Mahadalits, always have to face hardship).”
Manjhi recalled that while upper caste students were offered brooms to clean schools, lower caste ones were told to clean drains with bare hands.
Manjhi, who earlier termed upper caste “foreigners and descendants of Aryans”, is known for making controversial statements.
He recently said Scheduled Castes and OBCs constitute 65 per cent of the state’s population, and hence only they were “entitled to rule”.
The CM’s statements have embarrassed the JD(U) and its allies RJD and the Congress. Manjhi also met party leader Nitish Kumar twice in a month to “clarify his stand”.