Nitish Kumar told me to ‘merge or get out’: Jitan Ram Manjhi


PATNA: Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) founder Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday squarely blamed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his son Santosh Suman’s exit from the state cabinet, following which the state’s ruling Mahagathbandhan slammed its doors on his party.

The former chief minister, who broke his silence a day after the dramatic turn of events, also raked up the ”humiliation” he had felt upon being forced to resign more than eight years ago, which helped the JD(U) chief return to the seat of power.

Keeping his cards close to the chest, the HAM founder, whose meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah a month ago has led to speculations of his return to the NDA, said, ”We will decide the future course of action after our party’s executive meeting on June 18.” ”I met Nitish Kumar earlier this month. I was accompanied by MLAs of my party who wanted to share some concerns about their respective constituencies. The meeting continued for 45 minutes, most of which were taken up by the chief minister’s harangue on our party’s merger with JD(U),” said Manjhi.

”I tried to draw his attention, even told him in good humour that age seemed to be catching up on him,” said Manjhi, incidentally, senior to Kumar by a few years.

The ex-CM claimed that when Kumar persisted with the talk of a merger, he said it was not possible, only to be brusquely told that ”then you better get out”.

”I was to leave for my own constituency in Gaya the same day and return on June 12. The CM asked me to think on his proposal again and let him know when I come back,” claimed the HAM founder.

”On June 12, I met him again and conveyed to him my inability to agree to a merger. He again said if that was the case I better leave. So, I asked my son to resign the very next day,” he added.

Notably, state Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, whom Suman had handed over his resignation letter, claimed that the latter spoke of ”personal reasons making it difficult to remain together”.

Manjhi also bristled at his party being likened to a ”tiny shop” by JD(U) national president Rajiv Ranjan Singh ‘Lalan’, saying, ”This is the language befitting those for whom everything is up for sale.” He said the JD(U) should remember it is pointless to say the HAM is out of Mahagathbandhan as the party had never joined the coalition and ”our loyalty had solely rested with Nitish Kumar”.

On Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav’s remark that Kumar had accorded him ”respect” by helping him become the CM, Manjhi said, ”The young RJD leader has potential but clearly is not aware of the whole story.” ”Nitish had not backed me out of an appreciation for my qualities. He was feeling ashamed over the party’s drubbing in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. He wanted to shun limelight and put in his place someone whom he considered pliable,” said Manjhi.

”For about two months I acted as per his advice. But all, including the media, began raising a hue and cry that I had become a rubber stamp. So, I started asserting myself. This made Nitish suspicious and he decided to have me overthrown,” alleged Manjhi.

”Tejashwi should know that Nitish gave me respect but was also responsible for the humiliation I faced. He never trusted me, though I never ditched him. Instead of resigning as the chief minister, I could have recommended the dissolution of the assembly. It would have allowed me to function as caretaker CM for a few months and spoiled the plans of Nitish,” Manjhi added.


Source: Press Trust of India

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