Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday observed a day-long fast at Gandhi Maidan to oppose the reversal of 34 cabinet decisions taken during his tenure by the Nitish Kumar government. Manjhi, who recently launched his political front, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), played up the “Dalit insult” factor.
Former JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Shivanand Tiwari, who has quit electoral politics, joined Manjhi and his loyalists at the fast.
Donning AAP-style caps, Manjhi and some of his former ministerial colleagues talked about the “pretend” Dalit empowerment of CM Nitish Kumar and targeted him for “reversing some of Dalit-centric” decisions taken by Manjhi.
The former CM also thanked the media. “Media first used my slip of tongue to make news but later reminded me what I am capable of. I used to sign any paper that came before me in the initial months but later I realised how big money was being used for non-serious purposes like creation of an international museum,” he said.
He said that while teachers and contractors from weaker sections of society needed to be empowered, the government had been spending too much money on constructing bridge pillars by making inflated estimates. Manjhi, who has given hints of going it alone in Assembly elections by contesting 125 of the 243 seats, said he and his colleagues would travel across the state and tell people how a Dalit CM was ousted because he started working for them.
Tiwari said: “Just when Nitish started realising Manjhi is his own man and is taking his own decisions, he started getting restless. Manjhi comes from poor society and represents aspirations of a large section.”