‘Tough to defend controversial statements’ Jitan Ram Manjhi

  • Kumar Uttam, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Oct 25, 2015 00:10 IST
Former Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi has been used by the BJP during its Bihar election campaigns to secure the SC/ST vote bank. (PTI Photo)

Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, the BJP’s prized catch, is now being used for campaign in the Scheduled Caste-dominated areas.

Manjhi spoke to HT, claiming his presence turned Dalits in the NDA’s favour and why the Prime Minister must take action against Union minister VK Singh for the ‘dog’ comment. Excerpts from the interview:

Your views about RSS chief’s call for a review of reservation?

The reservation system is mandated by the Constitution. It can’t be scrapped. Even (Mohan) Bhagwat suggested a review so that the benefits of reservation should reach the deprived. I want reservation to be increased so that it benefits the maximum number of people. The Scheduled Castes know that the NDA, of which I am a part, is their real well wisher.

Will incidents like the Dalit killings and VK Singh’s ‘dog’ remark have a bearing on polls?

The minister’s statement is highly deplorable. It is a heinous crime to compare the kid of a Scheduled Caste with a dog. I would request the Prime Minister to take note of it and take appropriate action. It becomes difficult to justify such comments and then do damage control.

...Hope that it did not make any impact. The Scheduled Castes in Bihar are more concerned about their future and incidents outside do not bother them much.

Two phases of election are over. What is your assessment about the voting?

NDA has done quite well. If you compare it with our present strength in areas which went to polls, we have gained a lot of ground. We are confident of a victory.

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