The Telegraph
Thursday , July 24 , 2014
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When Manjhi played perfect host

Patna, July 23: Leaders cutting across party lines attended an Iftar party chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi hosted at his 1 Aney Marg residence today.

The function was not very different from those Manjhi’s predecessor, Nitish Kumar, used to organise. The menu and style were the same.

But lesser number of people than those that used to attend Nitish’s Iftars attended Wednesday’s function.

Nitish had not organised any Iftar party last year, following the Gandaman tragedy in which 23 children were killed after consuming midday meal in school.

Manjhi took special care and greeted all, including Nitish and former chief minister Rabri Devi. He walked up to the area where namazis were waiting to break their fast in front of Maulana Syed Shah Sameem Monami and offered namaaz.

After that he shook hands with leaders and politicians from the minority community and requested the guests not to leave without partaking of the Iftar delicacies.

Of all guests, Manjhji took special care of Rabri Devi; husband Lalu Prasad was said to be away in New Delhi..

Rabri was visiting the chief minister’s official residence after a long gap. She was seated next to senior RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui. She chose to eat just a piece of banana, that too after Manjhi requested her.

Rural development minister Nitish Mishra and food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak were found sitting together.

When Rabri looked at Rajak, who was earlier with the RJD and once a Lalu loyalist, he did not forget to greet her with folded hands.

The menu was no different from what it has been in previous years.

There were around 15 items being served on huge dinning tables placed for people coming from all sections of society. There was mutton kalia, shami kebab, murgh musallam, vegetable biryani, sheermal roti, bakarkhani roti, fried brinjal, Nargisi kebab and firni. Fried gram, apple, banana and curd were also on the platter. Dates and mineral water were offered to the namazis at the entrance.

Leader of opposition in the Bihar Legislative Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav, Assembly speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary shared the vegetarian items on the same plate. Manjhi offered fried potato and brinjal to his predecessor, Nitish, which the latter ate.

When Nitish finished eating and proceeded further towards the exit gate, Manjhi and other senior leader followed him. The food was served at the place where janata darbar is held every Monday.

Manjhi repeatedly asked the visitors not to go without eating.

Around 55 cooks prepared the food for nearly thousands gathered there. Special arrangements were made for the ministers, legislators and the VIPS.

Though the arrangements were almost similar, some leaders said it was not as “smart” as it had been during Nitish’s time.

“Something is missing in the whole arrangement. It is not same Iftar party. Even the number of people that turned up is far less comparing to earlier Iftar parties,”ťa senior JDU leader was heard telling another leader.