| JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar with chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi after the oath-taking ceremony of MLCs at the Legislative Council in Patna on Monday. Picture by Nagendra Kumar Singh |
Patna, May 26: Nitish Kumar may have abdicated his chief ministerial throne, but if Monday’s oath-taking ceremony at the Legislative Council was anything to go by, he has hardly given up power.
While last-minute preparations were on in New Delhi for Narendra Modi’s swearing-in, 12 nominated members to the Bihar Legislative Council took oath around 10am. After being administered the oath by Council chairperson Awadhesh Narayan Singh, most of the MLCs went straight to Nitish for blessings. Incumbent Jitan Ram Manjhi was present but was almost ignored. Senior leaders like Bijendra Yadav also went ignored.
Among the 12 new MLCs taking the oath were three former RJD MLAs Samrat Chaudhary, Ramlakhan Ram Raman and Javed Iqbal Ansari and former BJP leader Ranbir Nandan. Samrat, Sanjay Kumar Singh alias Sanjay Gandhi and Ranbir did not mind touching Nitish’s feet after they were done taking oath. Ranbir, the second last person to take oath, did not even notice Manjhi and went straight towards Nitish. With a big smile on his face, Ranbir touched the former chief minister’s feet. Nitish blessed and congratulated him by patting his back.
Later, Ranbir said: “I am grateful to Nitishji for giving me this opportunity and I shall continue with the development work carried out by our leader.”
Senior BJP leaders did not find anything surprising with Nitish taking the lead.
Former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi told The Telegraph over phone: “One should not be surprised to see such things because Nitish is the de facto chief minister. This is just the beginning, more such examples would be highlighted in the future.”
When it was time to leave the Legislative Council hall, Nitish was again the first. Exiting the lift, Nitish had security, including those assigned to the chief minister, around him. When reporters floated questions about Modi’s swearing-on ceremony, Nitish took the charge and said: “I have great expectations from the new government and our chief minister is going to Delhi to attend the swearing-in ceremony. Bihar should get special category status and special package.”
The silent Manjhi left the premises to go home before taking the 12.50pm flight to Delhi to attend the Prime Minister’s swearing-in ceremony.