Manjhi referenced a recent scandal involving late Congress leader Mahavir Choudhary, criticising Nitish’s actions at the memorial function. Manjhi, claiming Nitish has lost mental balance, staged a dharna at the Patna High Court premises, vowing similar protests in Delhi. Nitish’s recent unpredictable behavior has fueled criticism, with detractors questioning his fitness for office.
Patna: Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who has an axe to grind against incumbent Nitish Kumar, on Tuesday used the occasion of Jawaharlal Nehru‘s birth anniversary to train his guns at the JD(U) supreme leader. Manjhi, who had started his political career with the Congress in the 1980s, and changed parties several times before floating Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) eight years ago, came out with a message on X, tagging Rahul Gandhi.
“Hundreds of salutations to India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on his birth anniversary. Rahul Gandhi is requested never to meet, on this date, Nitish Kumar who may end up celebrating his, rather than Nehru’s, birth anniversary”, Manjhi wrote in Hindi.
Manjhi concluded his below-the-belt jibe with a reminder of the “kaand” (scandal) around “late Mahavir Choudhary”.
Choudhary, who had been a minister in many Congress governments in the state, was the father of Ashok Choudhary, a former state unit chief who split the party to join the JD(U) in 2018 and has been a powerful member of the Nitish Kumar cabinet.
- Madhya Pradesh
Manjhi’s allusion was to the late Congress leader’s birth anniversary function held recently of which a video footage has gone viral on social media. In the footage, Nitish Kumar can be seen picking up a handful of flower petals and sprinkling these on the head of his minister, unlike other dignitaries who paid floral tributes to the late leader’s portrait.
Manjhi, who has been alleging that Kumar, a few years his junior, has lost “mental balance”, repeated the allegation when he reached the Patna High Court premises to stage a dharna in front of a statue of Baba Saheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar.
The HAM chief, who realigned with NDA a few months ago, was accompanied by senior BJP leaders like state president Samrat Choudhary and leader of the opposition Vijay Kumar Sinha.
The septuagenarian complained that “gates were not opened to enable us to offer our tributes to Ambedkar. Nonetheless, we did so from the outside. I am senior to Nitish Kumar in terms of age and political experience. Yet, he addressed me with the disrespectful pronoun ‘tum’ inside the assembly last week”.
Manjhi also said, “he mocked me, saying I was senseless. He also turned towards the media gallery admonishing you journalists for giving coverage to me. I have opened a front against Nitish Kumar and after the Chhath festivities I will stage a similar dharna in Delhi”.
“My next dharna will be at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi in Raj Ghat. Bihar needs to be rid of a chief minister who is not mentally sound. If needed, we will explore legal steps,” said Manjhi, without elaborating.
Notably, Kumar’s outbursts against Manjhi had come barely a couple of days after his explicit description of human copulation, in the process of asserting the role of educated and empowered women in population control, had created a furore.
The longest-serving chief minister had, thereafter, tendered apologies in both Houses of the legislature.
Nonetheless, his unpredictable behaviour has enabled his detractors to come up with the allegation that age has caught up with him.
Meanwhile, journalists were flustered by Kumar’s response when they asked him why he had been refusing to interact with the media of late.
There was a function organised on the occasion of Nehru’s anniversary where, in response to media personnel’s query in Bihari colloquialism “kahe naraaz hain sir”, the JD(U) leader bent at his hips and folded his hands before rushing to his car.
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