4:04 am - Wednesday November 18, 2015

Suspense ends: Nitish steps down, SC/ST minister Jitan Ram Manjhi is new Bihar CM

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Nitish Kumar, 62 stepped down as the chief minister of Bihar after a successful eight-and-a-half year stint on Monday. Jitan Ram Manjhi, legislator from Makhdumpur in Jehanabad district of central Bihar, will be the new chief minister. He is the minister for Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes welfare in the state cabinet.

Manjhi was inducted as a minister in the first cabinet of Nitish Kumar in November 2005, but removed soon after a case was detected against him in connection with an education department scam, from which he was later exonerated.
Soon after the decision, Manjhi, a Mahadalit leader, accompanied Nitish Kumar, JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav and state president Bashistha Narayan Singh to meet Bihar governor DY Patil in Raj Bhavan at 6.30 pm in order to stake claim to a new government.

Manjhi, had contested the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls as Janata Dal(United) nominee from Gaya and lost. As a minister, he played a leading role in executing the Nitish KUmar regime’s welfare programmes for mahadalits, a special category comprising the poorest among the Dalits.

Nitish Kumar used the right to choose provided him by the JD(U) legislature party earlier to nominate him, ending a three-day episode beginning with his resignation that shook Bihar. Manjhi could take oath on Tuesday.

“His (Nitish Kumar’s) decision (of stepping down) is correct,” Manjhi said, adding he would follow in the footsteps of the ex-CM to take Bihar forward.

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