Grant special status to Bihar: Manjhi to Modi

Patna: Bihar's new Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi Wednesday asked Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi to grant special status to the state headed by a Mahadalit.

A day after Manjhi was sworn-in as chief minister, he told reporters here that the time has come to see Modi's work and how he fulfils the promises he made to the people.

"If Modi has a little sympathy for the poor, backward and deprived sections of society, he will grant special category status to Bihar because the state chief minister is a Mahadalit," said Manjhi, who belongs to the Mushahar community.

"Ab dekhna hain Modi ka kaam, baatein karna or kaam karna alag hain," Manjhi said in Hindi referring to Modi's promise to develop Bihar during campaigning for the Lok Sabha election.

Manjhi also made it clear that Bihar would continue to fight for grant of special category status. "We will fight till we get it. Bihar will put pressure on the new central government," he said.

When it was pointed out that, like him, Modi also belongs to an extremely backward caste and rose to the top post, Manjhi said: "I do not know about Modi's caste. But he himself propagated about it during the election campaign."

Manjhi said he was "here because Nitish Kumar has experimented with something unbelievable and a rare thing by nominating a Mahadalit, who had worked as shepherd in his childhood and later as farm labourer, to become the chief minister".

He said he never believed that politics was a means to power and for him it is social work.

He claimed that the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has a comfortable majority in the 243-seat state assembly with its 117 legislators and support of one CPI and two Independent MLAs besides the outside support of four Congress legislators.

Manjhi said he would work hard for Bihar's development and follow Nitish Kumar's road map.

Manjhi, who along with 17 ministers took oath of office Tuesday at Raj Bhavan here, hinted about expanding his cabinet soon. "There will be cabinet expansion soon," he said.

Former chief minister Nitish Kumar Monday named Manjhi as his successor after he was authorised by the JD-U legislature party to elect its new leader. Kumar resigned from the post in the wake of JD-U's debacle in the Lok Sabha election.

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