Jitan Ram Manjhi, a close aide of Nitish Kumar and a Mahadalit leader was on Tuesday sworn in as new Bihar Chief Minister.
The 68-year-old JD(U) MLA was administered the oath of office by Governor DY Patil at a function at the Rajbhawan.
As many as 17 other ministers took oath along with the new Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Jitan Ram Manjhi, a close confidant of Nitish Kumar was yesterday handpicked by the outgoing Bihar chief minister to be his successor.
Manjhi a JD(U) MLA from the Makhdumpur (SC) seat in Jehanabad district, lost the Lok Sabha polls from the Gaya (SC) seat and was third behind winner BJP’s Hari Manjhi and RJD’s Ramji Manjhi.
The Dalit leader had served as a minister in the previous Congress and RJD governments before joining the JD(U) in 2005.
His stint in the Bihar Assembly started in 1980 and he was elected six times so far and was the SC & ST, Backward Caste and Extremely Backward caste welfare minister in the Nitish regime.
He became minister for the first time in the Chandrasekhar Singh-led Congress government in 1980 and was also a minister in the Bindeshwari Dubey government.
In 1990, he joined the RJD and was made Human Resources Development minister.
Yesterday, after a crucial meeting of the JD(U)LP, the second since Sunday, the state party president said the legislators accepted Kumar’s decision to stick to his decision to resign with a heavy heart and authorised him to choose a new leader to head the JD(U) government.
It was decided, he said, that Kumar would continue to lead the party and coordinate between the party and the state government.
Singh said Sharad Yadav and JD(U) National General Secretary KC Tyagi were present at the meeting where he proposed the resolution accepting Kumar’s resignation and authorising him to choose a new leader.
“We have staked claim before Governor DY Patil to form the government under leadership of Jitan Ram Manjhi,” outgoing Chief Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters outside Raj Bhawan.
He said, “We have handed over a list of support of 117 JD(U) MLAs, 2 Independents and 1 CPI member totalling 120 to the Governor for formation of the new government.”
Asked for the reason for choosing Manjhi as his successor, Kumar said “he is experienced and his contribution to the party is immense.”
The effective strength of the House at present is 239. JD(U) has 117 members, BJP 90, RJD 21, Congress 4 and others including Independents 1 CPI member 7.
The four-member Congress, which voted for the Nitish Kumar government in the trust motion in June last year has authorised party High Command to decide on the future course of action.