Patna, Jan 12: Amid reports of his growing distance with Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday described his predecessor as "supreme" leader of JD(U) and said he would propose name of Kumar from his party for the post of CM after the merger.
He, however, said after merger leaders of all partner parties would deliberate on the proposal and take a decision whether to accept it or "choose a new name considering situation emerging at that time."
He said there was unnecessary hype in the media about my ouster "jabki aisi koi baat nahin thi (when there was no matter like that)". Asked than why Nitish Kumar refused to give assurance about his continuation on CM chair, Manjhi justified Kumar assertions and said "he is a mature politician so why he will say something which could have given strength to the unsubstantiated reports."
In reply to a question about motive behind his assertions that a dalit should be next CM of the state, Manjhi said "I vented the aspiration of weaker sections to which I myself belong to."
Amid reports of heightened speculation about reports of his removal from CM post which got wings with Nitish Kumar's trip to Delhi, Manjhi had in West Champaran two days back played "Dalit card" to save his chair and said a Dalit should be CM of the state which was seen as his attempt to foil chance of Nitish Kumar to return to the post.
On his welcoming judgement of Patna High Court restoring membership of four rebel JD(U) MLAs which reports suggested did not go down well with Nitish Kumar camp, Manjhi objected to usage of "baggi (rebel)" for these party legislators and said he had welcomed judgement of both the HC and earlier that of Assembly speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary on them.
"I enjoy support of all JD(U) MLAs and no question of winning rebels and others within the party," Manjhi who was flanked by senior minister Narendra Singh, who had spoken strongly in his favour during the crisis, added.