Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and members of his family appear to be at the receiving end of ‘vigilance’ of an unprecedented kind — at the hands of the security detail purporting to be deployed for their protection!
A member of Manjhi’s immediate family confirmed on Wednesday that as part of their day to day functions, members of his security detail have been advised to protect fruit bearing trees on the campus of the bungalow he occupies, from members of the ex-CM’s own family!
“The security personnel at 1, Aney Marg, are under orders not to allow any member of the ex-CM’s family to get fruits plucked from any of scores of litchi and mango trees on the campus,” Manjhi’s son-in-law Devendra Manjhi told HT.
He said the matter came out in the open about a week ago when a gardener plucked some litchi fruits on the direction of ‘mataji’, an allusion to the ex-CM’s wife (who is Devendra Manjhi’s mother in law).
“The gardener was severely admonished by a security guard and taken to 7, Circular road residence of chief minister Nitish Kumar where he was badly pulled up by one of the CM’s secretaries and transferred to another place,” Devendra Manjhi recalled.
Manjhi came to occupy the 1, Aney Marg bungalow, earmarked as the official residence of the Bihar chief minister, when he took over as CM in May 2014 soon after the then CM Nitish Kumar quit the post following JD(U)’s two-out of-40 Lok Sabha seats show.
But he has held on to the bungalow ignoring ‘quit’ notices from the state authorities even three months after he resigned as CM on February 20, without taking a floor test in the state assembly, winning which would have upheld his right to continue as CM.
Manjhi’s plea has been, that he would vacate the Aney Marg house only when Nitish simultaneously vacated his current residence at 7, Circular road, so that Manjhi could move into it as an ex-chief minister.
Devendra Manjhi said his father in law felt very humiliated by the shabby treatment at the hands of his own securitymen but kept quiet as he did not want to turn the controversy into a public spectacle.
“Earlier, they disconnected the phone and intercom at the bungalow and stopped Manjhi’s family from using the swimming pool on the premises”, said Devendra, who was himself in the news late last year.
Devendra Manjhi was in controversy when it became known Manjhi, chief minister at the time, had appointed his son in law as his PA. Under mounting pressure, the chief minister asked Devendra to put in his papers.
Reached for a reaction, Bihar parliamentary affairs minister and close Nitish confidant Shrawan Kumar said it stood to reason that when Manjhi had ceased to be CM he could not expect himself and his family to enjoy facilities to which only the incumbent CM was entitled.
“Only the CM of the day is entitled to enjoy fruits from the trees on the premises of the CM’s official bungalow. And Manjhi has long ceased to be CM,” said Shravan Kumar.