Patna: Former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, along with cabinet ministers of his erstwhile regime, today sat on a protest fast at Gandhi Maidan here against the Nitish Kumar government annulling decisions taken by his ministry.
Along with a few rebel Janata Dal (United) MLAs, Manjhi and members of his erstwhile cabinet today sat on the fast under the statue of Mahatma Gandhi here as they protested against the Nitish Kumar government's scrapping of 34 decisions that were taken by their ministry.
Launching a scathing attack at his onetime mentor Kumar, Manjhi told reporters that the decision to scrap cabinet decisions was "najayaz" (illegal).
Defending his decisions, Manjhi said all the decisions taken by his cabinet were "genuine" for welfare of poor. He trashed argument of shortage of fund to finance these decisions saying "actually Nitish Kumar is using money in 'pomp and show' to carve out his name instead of development."
Projects worth thousands of rupees like international museum, convention centre, new building for Legislative Assembly, new residences for legislators were not necessary at all as we are fighting against poverty in the state. There was no need for these buildings, he said.
Narendra Singh, Brishen Patel, Nitish Mishra, Mahachandra Prasad Singh and other ministers of the Manjhi cabinet, along with some dissident JD(U) MLAs like Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo, Poonam Devi, senior leaders Shivanand Tiwari and Shakuni Chaudhary sat on the protest fast with Manjhi.
The fast has been organised under the banner of newly floated organisation "HAM" (Hindustan Awami Morcha) by Manjhi and his supporters. The protestors wore Gandhi cap with HAM written on it to draw resemblance with Aam Admi Party (AAP) of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.
In the cabinet meeting on March 4, Kumar had annulled 34 decisions taken by the former Manjhi ministry during their last three meetings on February 10, 18 and 19.
The items annulled included increasing fund for legislators from Rs 2 crore to Rs 3 crore annually under CM Development schemes from next fiscal, setting up of a committee to study reservation for poor among forward castes, providing 13 months salary to policemen instead of 12 months and giving reservation to backward, most backward and women applicants in contract of road construction department.
Other decisions done away were reserving 35 per cent post for women in government services in non-gazetted posts and appointment of one "Swachhata karmi" (cleaning staff) in 46,000 villages at a payment of Rs 5,000 per month.
The decision of annulment was justified by Kumar saying these were basically "non-decisions" as laid down rules were not followed in giving sanction to them.