Facing embarrassment over a series of “irresponsible and flippant” statements made by Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi, the JD(U) has firmly asked Manjhi to “mind his tongue” as his statements were bringing a bad name to the party and giving leverage to the BJP.
JD (U) national president Sharad Yadav on Thursday disowned Manjhi’s statement of “not allowing seven Union ministers from Bihar in the state if they do not do enough for the state”. “Anyone is free to move anywhere in this country. No one should stop ministers from coming to Bihar,” he said.
Also, former Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who is on a Sampark Yatra, was reportedly upset with Manjhi’s statements.
JD (U) Rajya Sabha MP and party national spokesperson K C Tyagi told The Indian Express: “Though there is nothing like serving Manjhi a final warning, the party does feel enough is enough now. His statements have only been giving leverage to the BJP. Manjhi should follow the development map drawn by Nitishji and not try to rewrite history. He should try to run the government, not bring about a revolution”.
Tyagi said Manjhi’s statements had greatly embarrassed the party, especially at a time when Nitish Kumar was trying to galvanise JD(U) at the grassroots.
“It was Nitish Kumar’s grace that he called Manjhi and said he would be the next chief minister. This is not the way Manjhi should respond to his gesture”.
Asked if the party subscribed to Manjhi’s statements about “caste divide”, he said: “The party can never back such statements. It is his own thinking. Politicians’ job is to resolve contradictions, not sharpen the divide”.
Tyagi, however, said the party had not served Manjhi any written warning.
The party, he said, had been upset with the “flippant and irresponsible” statements. “Sometimes he would say I will become prime minister. We have become a laughing stock,” said Tyagi.
Sources said JD(U) was under pressure to replace Manjhi who was “out to neutralise all the good work done by Nitish Kumar”.
The name of Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary, another Mahadalit leader, has also cropped up as an option.
However, owing to RJD chief Lalu Yadav’s reservations against Choudhary, there has been no unanimity on the issue.
Also, the RJD has reportedly impressed upon JD (U) that any further change of guard midway will not serve much purpose.