Nitish Kumar was authorised by the Janata Dal-United legislature party to elect a new leader after he refused to withdraw his resignation which he tendered following his party's debacle in the recent Lok Sabha polls.
"Manjhi will stake claim to form the government," Nitish Kumar told media persons after he along with Manjhi and other party leaders met Governor D.Y. Patil here.
Party leaders said Nitish Kumar chose the soft-spoken Manjhi as he is a non-controversial leader with a clean image.
Manjhi - from the Mushahar community - was SC/ST welfare minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet. He is legislator from the Makhdoompur assembly constituency.
He also contested the Lok Sabha poll from Gaya constituency but lost.
Manjhi, a native of Mahkar village in Gaya district, will be the third Dalit to become chief minister after Bhola Paswan Shastri and Ram Sundar Das.
Nitish Kumar, meanwhile, said the JD-U has the majority to form the government with support of the Communist Party of India and Independent legislators.
Nitish Kumar said Manjhi will take oath as chief minister Tuesday along with the council of ministers.
"Manjhi is a seasoned, balanced and an experienced politician," JD-U president Sharad Yadav told IANS.