Bihar Assembly Elections 2015: Know your leader Profile- Jitan Ram Manjhi

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Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) president Jitan Ram Manjhi has turned around the political equations of Bihar. Former loyal and blue-eyed boy of Nitish Kumar, now Manjhi has thrown a challenge to other veterans, by forming his own party.

Bihar will face five-phase assembly polls on Oct 12, Oct 16, Oct 28, Nov 1, Nov 5. The poll results will be declared on Nov 8, Sunday.

Let's take a look at the brief profile of former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi.

Jitan Ram Manjhi

Date and place of birth: Oct 6, 1944, Mahakar village, Gaya district, Bihar

Family history: Manjhi, a Mahadalit, was born to Ramjit Ram Manjhi and Sukri Devi, in a family of farm labourers. 

Manjhi lost his childhood in the darkness of poverty and he had to do petty jobs to make his both ends meet. As a child labourer, Manjhi used to tranfer files from one room to another.

As he was born in poverty-stricken family, he started working in his childhood at the land owner's home. With no schools in the vicinity and no money to study, Manjhi somehow manged to study till Class 7th, without going to school.

He pursued his higher studies by keeping it as a secret to his family. In 1962, he passed Class 12th with second division. In 1966, he attained his graduation degree with History as his main subject from Magadh University.

But with acute financial crisis, he had to work as a clerk at Gaya Telephone exchange.

Manjhi is married to Shanti Devi and has 7 children- 2 sons and 5 daughters.

Political career: In 1980, he left his clerical job to make entry into politics. His stint in the Bihar Assembly started in 1980 on a Congress ticket and he was elected six times and was the SC & ST, Backward Caste and Extremely Backward caste welfare minister in the Nitish regime.

He became minister for the first time in the Chandrasekhar Singh-led Congress government in 1980 and was also a minister in the Bindeshwari Dubey government.

In 1990, he joined the RJD and was made Human Resources Development (HRD) minister. But after his name was embroiled in a corruption case of the Education Department during RJD rule, he joined the JD(U).

He had served as a minister in the previous Congress and RJD governments before joining the JD(U) in 2005.

The veteran politician was initially dropped in Kumar's first government in November 2005 because of the Education Department corruption case, but, he was later brought back into the ministry.

Since 2008, he was inducted into Nitish's cabinet as a minister. In 2014, he contested from Gaya (reserved) seat but lost and came at number 3 behind winner BJP's Hari Manjhi and RJD's Ramji Manjhi.

He served as a legislator from the Makhdoompur assembly constituency in Jehanabad district and did immense work for the upliftment and welfare of Dalits.

Performance as Bihar CM: 70-year-old Manjhi served as Bihar chief minister from May 20, 2014 to Feb 20, 2015.

Initially, Manjhi was seen as a 'puppet' CM, who was being remote controlled by Nitish Kumar. After ten months of his tenure as Bihar CM, he was forced to resign and pave way Nitish's comeback. Eventually, he was ousted from the JD(U), leading to a political turmoil in the state.

For Manjhi, becoming the 23rd chief minister of Bihar, was a huge achievement. He became the third dalit chief minister of Bihar, after Bhola Paswan Shastri and Ram Sundar Das.

Divorce with Nitish Kumar: After an ugly showdown with his mentor Nitish Kumar, Manjhi vowed to show the power of democracy to the people of Bihar.

Formation of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM): A week after he resigned as Bihar chief minister, Manjhi floated his new political party, Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM). However, he officially announced the formation of HAM on May 8, 2015.

Alliance with the NDA: On June 11, 2015, Manjhi declared that his party will forge a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. In July 2015, his party got a recognition from the Election Commission, to contest in the upcoming assembly elections.

'Rat-eater' Manjhi: During 2008 food crisis, Manjhi reportedly promoted "eating rat" as they caused damage to food grains and said rats have same food values as that of a chicken, in terms of protein and nutrition.

Interestingly, Manjhi's surname is synonymous with his real life character. Manjhi means a "boat sailor", the one who has to sail the boat towards the river/ sea bed despite opposing waves. In personal life too, Manjhi has sailed through the turbulent times successfully, while keeping his temper cool and calm.

[Know your leader Profile- Nitish Kumar]

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