Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday said he would go to people with 34 people-centric decisions of his cabinet, which chief minister Nitish Kumar subsequently annulled.
Manjhi said had even Dalit legislators backed him, his government would have survived. “The fall of the Manjhi government is a defeat of social justice. Dalit representatives are unable to work independently, as they have to depend on others. This is the reason why we should mull over Baba Saheb’s concept of ‘separate electorate,” he stressed.
He was addressing students and academicians at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi at a programme organised by Birsa Ambedkar Phule Students’ Association.
In his about 90-minute address, he dwelt on his life and struggle and said how his second marriage was with a widow. “The fight for social justice should begin at home,” he said even as he reiterated the need for inter-caste marriage among Dalits and Adivasis to become a formidable force.
Continuing his attack on Kumar, Manjhi also raised the issue of women’s empowerment. “Kumar talks of women’s empowerment by giving sanitary napkins, but how is it possible without giving them rights through reservation?” he wondered. He said Kumar wanted him to work as a “rubber stamp”.
Earlier in the day, he told mediapersons that he would chart his new course after the April 20 rally at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.
“There will be no pre-poll arrangement, though I can think of a post-poll tie-up with any party. I can meet RJD chief Lalu Prasad also in this regard,” he said.
Manjhi said he wanted to meet BJP president Amit Shah, but that could not happen as Shah left for Nagpur. “The next month, I will meet him and hold a detailed discussion,” he added.