Manjhi takes oath as Bihar CM, trust vote on Friday
Jitan Ram Manjhi, a ‘mahadalit’ and once a clerk in the Posts and Telegraph department and who had stints as a minister in Congress, RJD and JD(U) governments since 1980, was on Tuesday sworn in as the 32nd chief minister of Bihar.
Governor DY Patil, who administered the oath to Manjhi, handpicked by outgoing CM Nitish Kumar, and 17 ministers at a function at Raj Bhawan, directed the new government to seek a trust vote on the floor of the House on 23 May.
The new cabinet comprised all ministers of the Nitish Kumar government.
Vijay Chaudhary was the first to take oath after Manjhi. Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Narendra Singh, Brishen Patel, Ramai Ram and Bhim Singh followed.
The cabinet has one woman member, Lessi Singh and a Muslim, Shahid Ali Khan. Two Independents Dulal Chand Goswami and Binay Bihari were rewarded for supporting the government after it became a minority following parting of ways with the BJP.
Prime minister-elect Narendra Modi tweeted ‘Congratulations to Shri Jitan Ram Manjhi on taking over as Bihar chief minister... I wish him the very best and assure our support in development of Bihar.’
Emerging from nearly 45-minute swearing in ceremony, Manjhi told reporters that he would seek a trust vote of his government on 23 May and expand his cabinet thereafter. Manjhi said that his priority would be to complete the development work started by the party government under Kumar.
All the ministers after taking oath shook hands with Kumar first.
Kumar seated in between Manjhi and state JD(U) President Basistha Narayan Singh congratulated the ministers.
Kumar refused to entertain a question by mediapersons whether he demitted office to avoid sending a congratulatory message to Modi.
He had resigned from the chief ministership two days ago taking moral responsibility for the JD(U)’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha elections winning a meagre two of the 40 seats as against 20 it had won five years ago.
‘Remote se nahin direct chalegi nai sarkar ... Jitan Ram Manjhi sarkar apne vivek se kam karegi (the new government will run directly on its own wisdom and not through remote control),’ Kumar said.
Senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had described Manjhi as Kumar’s ‘kathputli’ (puppet).
Kumar said he was feeling relaxed as the people and party workers ultimately respected his sentiment to resign owning moral responsibility for the drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls. The Manjhi government would have a tenure of 18 months till November next year when the term of the present assembly ended.