Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi will discharge the duties of a Protem Speaker in the new Legislative Assembly in Bihar. Manjhi, 76, served as the 23rd Chief Minister of Bihar from 20 May 2014 to 20 February 2015.
In this year's Assembly election, Manjhi won from the Imamganj Assembly seat in Gaya. His party contested elections as an NDA constituent. The HAM fielded candidates from seven seats of which it won four. Last week, Manjhi was elected the leader of its four-member legislature party. Previously, he had served as a minister in Nitish Kumar's cabinet.
Manjhi had started his political career with the Congress in 1980. He later joined the RJD and then to JD(U). Manjhi, once seen as Nitish's ‘Man Friday’, was handpicked to succeed him after he resigned from the CM’s chair in May 2014 owning moral responsibility for the debacle in the general elections. Manjhi was expelled from the JD(U) in February 2015 after he declined to vacate the CM’s office to accommodate Nitish.
Manjhi then floated his own political party HAM and sided with Nitish’s then-rival Bharatiya Janata Party. He contested the Assembly elections in an alliance with the BJP, LJP, and RLSP. As per the seat-sharing agreement, Manjhi contested the election from 20 seats but won just one seat. Manjhi was the lone member of his party to win in the elections.
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In February 2018, Manjhi quit the NDA and joined the Grand Alliance of the opposition parties. By that time, Nitish had returned to the NDA fold. In 2020, Manjhi quit the opposition's alliance as he was unhappy over RJD’s behaviour and returned to the NDA.
Who is a Protem Speaker?
A Protem Speaker is appointed to carry out some specific functions. By conventional practice, the senior-most MLA or MP is appointed as a Protem Speaker. He/She is appointed for administering oath to the newly-elected MLAs or MPs and then conduct the election of a new Speaker.
However, once a new Speaker is elected, the Protem Speaker ceases to function in the same capacity.
Senior BJP MLA Nand Kishore Yadav is likely to be the new Speaker of the Bihar assembly. Yadav, a seven-term MLA from Patna Sahib, has been intimated about it by the party's leadership. He has served as a minister in all the previous NDA governments in Bihar.