Taking a cue from Narendra Modi’s “chai pe charcha”, former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi held a “Tea with Manjhi” session at his residence on Saturday. Manjhi said he intended to do what Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal achieved with use of social media in elections.
Over 400 people, mostly college students who follow the former CM on Facebook, met him at his residence where Manjhi took questions on politics, society and Dalit empowerment. “We will give 70 per cent tickets to Dalits and 50 per cent to youth. I am looking at youth as my big constituency. Social media is a great way to reach out to you and speak out my mind,” Manjhi said. The function that continued for about three hours was divided into three sessions — “Chat with Manjhi”, “Tea with Manjhi” and “Snap with Manjhi”.
A student asked how he would manage funds for the elections, to which Manjhi said: “If one person gives just a rupee, we will get crores of rupees. I want my followers to share my FB messages and create a chain of supporters.”
In reply to another question on “Jungle Raj II”, he said that Nitish Kumar’s merger with Lalu clearly meant that it would be the beginning of misrule. “This is where youth have to decide what they want. Aap sab Manjhi hai (you all are Manjhi),” he said.
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Several students got photographed with Manjhi and some took selfies. Manjhi was non-committal on alliance with the BJP.
A Manjhi loyalist said they had been attempting to woo “caste-neutral” youth constituencies in line with Narendra Modi’s attempt to attract youth.