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Who Is Jitan Ram Manjhi, Ex Bihar Chief Minister To Be Part Of Modi 3.0

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Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi will likely be part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet as he takes oath for his third consecutive term today, sources told NDTV.

The Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) leader was Bihar’s chief minister between 2014-2015. The Dalit leader was the first chief minister from the state’s Musahar community. 

An MLA since 1980, Mr Manjhi was elected the Lok Sabha MP from Bihar’s Gaya.

Over the years, he has been affiliated with multiple parties including close ally Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United). Jitan Ram Manjhi entered politics in 1980 as an Congress candidate. Between 1980 and 1990, he served in three consecutive cabinets headed by Congress chief ministers in Bihar.

After 1990, he joined the Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal after splitting from the Janata Dal. From 1996 to 2005, Manjhi was a minister in the RJD state government in Bihar before switching to Nitish Kumar’s JDU.

In 2021, the Dalit leader sparked a row by using an expletive against Brahmins, facing a backlash from the influential community, with one of its members announcing a reward of ₹ 11 lakh for chopping off his tongue.

In a viral video, Mr Manjhi was seen using swear words while talking of the pitfalls of growing ritualism among Dalits. 

In 2022, another remark by the former Bihar chief minister had the BJP up in arms against him, this time over Lord Ram. Mr Manjhi, at a function held to celebrate BR Ambedkar’s birth anniversary, had asserted that Lord Ram was a mythical character and “not a god”. 

“Why do the upper caste people not follow the example to shun the practice of untouchability? I don’t think Lord Ram was a god. But he was a character of Valmiki’s Ramayana and Ramacharitmanas penned by Goswami Tulsidas. Both works contain valuable teachings,” he had said.

 Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi will likely be part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet as he takes oath for his third consecutive term today, sources told NDTV.    

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