Rift between Nitish, Manjhi to the fore

Rift between Nitish, Manjhi to the fore

Next month, former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar will embark on a 16-day Sampark Yatra wherein he will address 32 public meetings throughout the state. 

It is being seen as Nitish’s move to resurrect the party ahead of the 2015 Assembly polls. But what is more significant is the absence of Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi from the show.  

Many wonder whether it is a coincidence or a well-crafted design that the former chief minister and his successor, of late, are not coming face-to-face after the latter caused huge embarrassment to his mentor through his foot-in-mouth statements.

The Sampark Yatra is not an isolated case of simmering differences. A couple of days ago, Nitish did not attend a function presided by Manjhi in which tributes were paid to the first chief minister of Bihar, Sri Krishna Sinha. 

Though Nitish was formally invited to the meeting, he preferred to attend a similar function in New Delhi the same day, in an embarrassment to the chief minister.

Before this incident, Nitish staged a day-long dharna near JP’s statue in the state capital where he asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant special status to Bihar. 

Manjhi was not invited to the dharna, even though some of his Cabinet colleagues joined Nitish.

The face-off between the two leaders has added grist to the rumour mill that all is not well between Nitish and Manjhi. If sources in the ruling camp are to be believed, Nitish has not responded to the last three calls made by Manjhi. 

“Nitishji is not interacting with Manjhi directly. The state Janata Dal (United) president Bashishtha Narayan Singh is the interlocutor between the two,” said the source, dropping ample hints how Manjhi, the man of many gaffes, has upset Nitish with his foot-in-mouth statements.  

It was Nitish who, in May, threw his weight behind Manjhi as his successor and gave Bihar its first chief minister from the Mahadalit Mussahar community.But five months down the line, Nitish is seriously wondering whether Manjhi was fit enough to don the mantle. 

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