Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, facing hostile party colleagues over his style of functioning, hit out at his detractors on Friday stating that he never feared calling a spade a spade and would continue to do so.
Manjhi drew an allegory of a bird who advised a monkey to make nests to protect itself from rain, but the latter destroyed the nest. “I do not know when I will be thrown out of my nest,” he said.
Manjhi also dubbed the section of ‘rich and the influential’ within the government and outside, as ‘Mangurs’ (carnivorous catfishes).
Manjhi underlined his agenda of empowering the poor and check pilferage within the government, even as he took oblique pot-shots at JD(U) strongman Nitish Kumar’s loyalists, including senior ministers.
“Now, when I have started plugging the loopholes in awarding contracts and cut expenses, some big fishes are getting restless,” he said, inferring to the recent meeting of senior ministers held at food minister Shyam Rajak’s residence last Tuesday.
Manjhi also stressed that poverty was the biggest impediment in uplifting the scheduled castes and backward sections but exhorted them to take to education so that they could compete with others
“Of course, we still need reservations to protect the interests of weaker sections. But, there is need to give more encouragement to students from poorer sections so that they become self reliant,” he said.
The chief minister also tried to clarify that he was not a supporter of Maoism as it was portrayed for his observation that ‘levy collection by extremists was justified’.