After being at the receiving end of an outburst by Bihar chief minister and former ally Nitish Kumar, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi is considering legal action against the former for using “unparliamentarily words” against him on the floor of the state assembly last week.
The former Bihar chief minister, who accused Nitish Kumar of harassing him, led a Maun Dharna (silent protest) in Patna on Tuesday, adding that the tongue-lashing he received from the JDU chief was an insult to Dalits not just in the state but across the country.
“Not done mouthing profanities about women on the floor of the Assembly, the chief minister also insulted me in the House. He didn’t just insult me but all the Dalits across the country. It’s deeply unfortunate that a leader, representing 13 crore people of the state as chief minister, directed such crass words at women and me. I am older than him not just in terms of age but also my experience in politics,” Mr Manjhi, who identifies himself with the Mahadalit community, said.
Mr Manjhi claimed that the gates to BR Ambedkar’s statue in front of Patna High Court were closed when he reached there to hold a protest against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
He added that he would go to Delhi’s Rajghat after Chhath Puja to pray for the Bihar chief minister’s ‘mental well-being’.
“Today, we were not allowed to garland the statue of Baba Bhimrao Ambedkar. We will go to Rajghat in Delhi and pray to Gandhi-ji to grant good sense to Nitish Kumar,” the former chief minister said.
Earlier, on October 9, Mr Kumar had lost his cool and lashed out at Mr Manjhi after the latter raised doubts over the government’s caste survey.
Mr Nitish said it was ‘stupidity’ on his part that prompted him to let Mr Manjhi occupy the highest seat of power in the state.
“He keeps saying that he, too, was a chief minister. He became chief minister as a result of my stupidity. Does he have any sense? (Ye bolta hai ki hum mukhyamantri the. Meri moorkhta ki vajah se mukhyamantri bana. Isko koi sense hai)”, Mr Kumar shouted, leading to a commotion in the House.
Mr Manjhi, who is now an ally of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, was earlier with the Janata Dal (United) and was made the 23rd chief minister of the state after Nitish Kumar had stepped down taking responsibility for his party’s debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Mr Manjhi occupied the chief minister’s seat from May 20, 2014, to February 20, 2015.
Hitting back at Mr Kumar after his outburst, Mr Manjhi said the former made him chief minister to further his own ‘political ambitions’.
“Nitish Kumar says that he made me chief minister. The BJP made him the chief minister and he betrayed them by joining forces with the RJD. Thereafter, the RJD made him chief minister. When was the last time he was elected chief minister by the people? He is clinging on to power as ‘Paltu Ram’ (turncoat). He made me the chief minister to advance his political ambition,” Mr Manjhi said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)