Patna: Once a clerk in Posts and Telegraph department, Jitan Ram Manjhi, a ‘mahadalit' who was picked by Nitish Kumar to lead Bihar, is an old hand in the state's politics with stints as minister in Congress, RJD and JD(U) governments since 1980.
Manjhi, a six-time MLA who was elected from Makhdumpur reserved constituency in Jehanabad district, was minister for SC & ST Welfare in the outgoing Nitish Kumar government.
Known for maintaining low profile, Manjhi had been instrumental in Kumar's reaching out to ‘mahadalits'.
Kumar had created this subsection within dalits minus the Paswan caste of LJP president Ramvilas Paswan to tap the support from this numerically strong section.
Manjhi's own caste ‘Mushar' was recently designated as ‘mahadalit' by the state government.
Manjhi is credited with popularising radio among the ‘mahadalits' so that they could be made aware of government programmes for weaker sections.