Known for his controversial remarks, Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Wednesday again evoked a sharp criticism when he charged the Centre with ignoring the interest of the state and said seven Union Ministers from the state would not be allowed entry if they failed to bring desired assistance for the region.
Referring to the seven ministers as “Sat Bhaiya” (seven brothers) at a function on the occasion of the ‘World Toilet Day’, Manjhi appealed to them to bring from the Centre required assistance for the state failing which they would not be allowed entry into the state.
Though the Chief Minister did not take any names, the seven ministers are Radha Mohan Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan (all cabinet ministers), Rajiv Pratap Rudy (MoS) (Independent charge), Upendra Kushwaha, Ram Kripal Yadav and Giriraj Singh (all MoS).
Manjhi also said in a lighter vein that “thokar kha kar Mukhya Mantri ho gaye wahi thokar kha kar Pradhan Mantri na ho jaye (I have become Chief Minister after facing hardship and might become Prime Minister after suffering the same).”
Expressing anguish for high percentage of open defecation in the state, Manjhi said the state government had laid a target to construct two crore toilets by 2019.
“Even if the Centre fails to provide us necessary assistance, the state will achieve this target from its own limited resources,” he said.
The Chief Minister said there were over 269 lakh elected representatives in panchayats and urban local bodies and if they constructed even one toilet it would be a big help in fulfilment of the target. He also made similar appeal to 50 lakh self help groups in the state. BJP leaders condemned the statement on the central ministers by the Chief Minister.
Union Minister of State for Rural Development and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav termed the statement as “unconstitutional” and attributed it to the “influence” of RJD President Lalu Prasad and former Chief minister Nitish Kumar on him.
“It seems that due to the mental torture Manjhi is suffering because of the overbearing influence of Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, he is making unconstitutional statements,” Yadav said.
Condemning the statement, Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav said “he is speaking ‘ut patang’ (loose statements) now-a-days to remain in discussion.”