Manjhi snipes at Nitish, urges him to call it a day

Patna: Claiming that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is working under pressure from “an influential ally”, Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) president Jitan Ram Manjhi on Thursday advised him to “quit” if he felt being undermined by someone.

“Rumours are rife in the media that Nitish Kumar is being undermined and not allowed to function independently. I too feel that though he holds the crown, somebody else is calling the shots,” the former chief minister said.

Under the circumstances, if the Chief Minister feels he has become “helpless”, he should resign from his post, Manjhi said in a veiled reference to RJD supremo Lalu Prasad without naming him.

His comments came after Lalu Prasad’s surprise inspection of the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences here last Sunday which drew flak from various quarters.

The former chief minister, who formed HAM(S), after being sacked from the ruling JD(U) ahead of Bihar polls last year, said, having suffered “humiliation at the hands of Kumar”, he “empathised” with him for being in similar predicament now.

Observing that the dignity of the CM’s post is being “compromised with a leader of a coalition partner calling the shots in the Grand Alliance government,” Manjhi asked Kumar to “quit at once to ensure sanctity of the high constitutional post.”

He claimed that senior bureaucrats are not willing to serve in the state because of the “pressure exerted by the powerful ally”.

As many as 35 senior IAS and IPS officers have made written request to the state government to be allowed to leave for central deputation as they were unable to serve in Bihar due to unbearable intervention from various quarters in and outside the government, Manjhi claimed.

The HAM(S) president also expressed concern at the “deteriorating law and order situation” in Bihar and alleged that the Chief Minister has failed to take concrete steps to improve the situation.

Infrastructure development has come to a grinding halt with contractors and labourers refusing to work after murder of two engineers in Darbhanga district recently and because of extortion demands, Manjhi said.

The former Chief Minister charged the Grand Alliance government with non-utilisation of funds with only three months remaining of the financial year 2015-16.

He feared that the funds pending with various departments will be hurriedly withdrawn against fake bills, a phenomenon known as ‘March Loot.’

Manjhi also attacked the JD(U) for disqualification of three rebel MLCs Mahachandra Prasad Singh, Narendra Singh and Samrat Chaudhary for anti-party activities, saying none of them had joined HAM(S) as was alleged by the ruling party.