New Delhi: Jitan Ram Manjhi's tenure as Bihar chief minister was as controversial as several remarks he made during the last nine-odd months. Manjhi was accused of being a remote-controlled chief minister but he spoke his mind when it came to making controversial statements. He remained in the news also because of some of his remarks.
According to Manjhi, the upper caste people were foreigners and the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and the Scheduled Tribes (STs) people were indigenous. This remark got him in trouble as several JDU legislators belonging to the upper castes demanded his removal.
He openly admitted that he once refused to help a lady harassed by Yadavs due to vote bank politics. "A lady came to me in distress when I was a minister. She was being harassed by Yadavs but I refused to save her. I kept mum because Yadavs had 50,000 votes in that area. I would have lost that vote had I acted," he said.
Manjhi justified the levy being extorted by the Maoists from the contractors who, he suggested, were indulging in corruption and looting the state. "I do not see any wrong in what they (Maoists) are doing by collecting levy from contractors engaged in building roads, community buildings and other government works," Manjhi had said.
He had sparked a controversy within the JDU when he said he would become a "supporter" of Narendra Modi if the prime minister granted special category status to Bihar. Besides, Manjhi said, he could become the prime minister one day.
He said he did not think it was wrong for a person to consume alcohol after eating food, having returned home after working hard for all the day.
Manjhi also said hoarding and black marketing by small traders was no crime.
He stirred up a controversy by asking Dalit youths to marry outside their caste to become a political force in Bihar.
Manjhi even admitted to paying bribe. He had said then that his mentor former chief minister of Bihar and Janata Dal United (JDU) leader Nitish Kumar failed to bring down corruption in the state when the latter was in power. Manjhi had said his family members had to pay a bribe of Rs 5,000 to electricity department officials to get his power bill modified a couple of years ago.
Without naming anyone, Manjhi said he was more knowledgeable than those advising him not to speak.
He even said once that the Central ministers would not be allowed entry in Bihar if they failed to bring assistance to the state.