Manjhi proved his majority after Nitish Kumar quit as Bihar chief minister Saturday following his party’s rout in the Lok Sabha polls.
A 68-year-old Mahadalit leader, Manjhi was Tuesday sworn-in as the 23rd chief minister of Bihar.
A total of 145 legislators voted for the motion moved by the chief minister while opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s 88 legislators walked out of the assembly. The house has 243 members, but its current strength is 237 members.
The ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) has 117 legislators and it was supported by one Communist Party of India legislator, two Independent legislators, four Congress legislators and 21 Rashtriya Janata Dal legislators.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Manjhi accused BJP of insulting millions of Mahadalits by terming him a “puppet, rubber stamp and remote-controlled”.
“Neither am I a puppet or rubber stamp nor remote-controlled by others. By saying this they (BJP) have been not insulting me alone but millions of Mahadalits and weaker sections,” Manjhi told media persons here.
“I feel pity for their mindset that that sees a Mahadalit as weak or not capable to handle responsible posts like that of chief minister,” he said.
Manjhi asserted that he was a legislator since 1980 and served as minister in three different governments. “I simply appeal to those people to change their midset,” he said.
Manjhi was Monday named by outgoing chief minister Nitish Kumar after he was authorised by the JD-U legislature party to select a new leader.
Manjhi – from the Mushahar community – was SC/ST welfare minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet. He is legislator from the Makhdoompur assembly constituency.
He earlier served as minister in the Congress government headed by Bindeshwari Dubey in 1985. He was also a minister in the RJD government of Rabri Devi in 2000.