Jitan Ram Manjhi
President of the Hindustani Awam Morcha
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded byPosition Established
Pro tem speaker of Bihar Legislative Assembly
In office
19 November 2020 – 24 November 2020
23rd Chief Minister of Bihar
In office
20 May 2014[1] – 20 February 2015[2]
Preceded byNitish Kumar
Succeeded byNitish Kumar
Personal details
Born (1944-10-06) 6 October 1944 (age 79)
Gaya, Bihar, India
Political partyHindustani Awam Morcha (2015—present)
Other political
Janata Dal (United) (2005—2015)
Rashtriya Janata Dal (1996—2004)
Janata Dal (1990—1996)
Indian National Congress (1980—1990)
Children7, including Santosh Manjhi
Alma materMagadh University

Jitan Ram Manjhi (born 6 October 1944) is an Indian politician from the eastern state of Bihar[3] who served as its 23rd Chief Minister from 20 May 2014 to 20 February 2015. He was the founding President of Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM).[4] Previously, he had served as minister for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes welfare in Nitish Kumar's cabinet. He has been a minister in several Bihar state governments, under multiple chief ministers like Chandrashekhar Singh, Bindeshwari Dubey, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Jagannath Mishra, Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi.

Manjhi has been a member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly since 1980. He was affiliated with several political parties, Indian National Congress (1980–1990), Janata Dal (1990–1996), Rashtriya Janata Dal (1996–2005) and JD(U) (2005–2015).[5] He was expelled from JD(U) following the February 2015 political crisis and subsequently Jitan Ram Manjhi emerged as a major Dalit face in Bihar.[6] In May 2015, he announced the new political party, Hindustani Awam Morcha. In July 2015, Jitan Ram Manjhi was accorded "Z"-plus security cover by the Union Home Ministry.[7][8][9]

Early life

Manjhi was born on 6 October 1944 in Mahakar village were under Khijarsarai area in Gaya district of Bihar.[10][11][12] His father Ramjit Ram Manjhi and mother Sukri Devi were farm labourers from the Musahar community, literally meaning rat-eaters due to their rodent consumption. He was tutored by a teacher after getting the permission of his upper-caste landlord until 7th class. After completing his graduation from Magadh University, he worked at the Gaya telephone exchange for 13 years until his younger brother became a policeman.[13] He is married to Shanti Devi; the couple has two sons and five daughters.[11] One of his sons, Santosh Suman Manjhi, is an MLC.[10]

Indian National Congress

Jitan Ram Manjhi entered politics in 1980.[14] On the ticket of the Indian National Congress party, he contested and won the assembly elections from the Fatehpur segment in Gaya district. He became a minister for the first time in the Chandrashekhar Singh-led government in Bihar. He won from the same constituency in the 1985 election, but lost in 1990. Between 1980 and 1990, he served as a minister of state in successive cabinets headed by Congress chief ministers Bindeshwari Dubey, Satyendra Narayan Sinha and Jagannath Mishra.[11][12]

Rashtriya Janata Dal

Immediately after losing the 1990 election, Manjhi switched to the Janata Dal.[14][10] But when the Janata Dal split in 1996 and Laloo Prasad Yadav formed his own Rashtriya Janata Dal, Manjhi moved to the RJD[14] under Yadav and won the Barachatti seat in the 1996 by-election (the previous incumbent Bhagwati Devi had left this seat to become a Member of Parliament from Gaya constituency). In the following election in 2000, he again won the same seat on an RJD ticket.[11]

From 1996 to 2005, Manjhi was a minister in the RJD state government in Bihar, first under the chief ministership of Yadav himself, and then under Rabri Devi, Yadav's wife who took the chair of CM after Yadav himself was convicted and jailed for the Fodder Scam.[11]

Janata Dal (United)

When Yadav's RJD lost the October 2005 elections to the Bharatiya Janata Party-Janata Dal (United) NDA coalition, Manjhi switched loyalties to the JDU.[14] He won the election from Barachatti putting behind Samta Deva of his previous party RJD.[15]

However, Manjhi was asked to resign immediately on the next day when his involvement in a corruption scam surfaced. Manjhi was involved in a fake B.Ed. degree racket in Bihar as the state education minister in the RJD government during the 1990s.[16] As a junior minister in the Rabri Devi government, he was alleged to have given illegal permissions to institutes to run fake degree courses.[11] He was later re-inducted in the state government cabinet by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in 2008 after having absolved of the charges.[17]

During the 2008 food crisis in Bihar, Manjhi promoted eating rats as they caused damage to food grains and as rats and chickens had "equal food values, not only in terms of protein, but in all areas of nutrition".[18][19][20] Rat catching is common with people of the Dalit Musahar caste, to which Manjhi belongs.[21]

In the 2010 Bihar elections, he was elected to state legislative assembly from Makhdumpur in Jehanabad district.[22] After Kumar split his party Janata Dal (United) from the NDA to oppose coalition leader Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Manjhi contested from Gaya but lost heavily and came a poor third behind winner Hari Manjhi (BJP) and Ramji Manjhi (RJD).[23]

As Chief Minister

Manjhi was once considered as a close confidant of Bihar present CM and JDU supremo Nitish Kumar, but is not known for his administrative skills.[1][24] Following the JDU's poor showing in the 2014 general election, Kumar accepted responsibility for the defeat and resigned. Manjhi, minister for SC and ST welfare in Nitish's cabinet,[10][25] replaced him as the 23rd Chief Minister of Bihar.[10][26] Manjhi's promotion, despite his loss in the general elections to the Lok Sabha and a miserable third-place finish in Gaya, has been criticized in the media for being a cynical political ploy of Kumar deliberately choosing a puppet whom he could control as well as to rouse casteist emotions.[27] Opposition leader Sushil Kumar Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party called Manjhi a "dummy chief minister", to which Manjhi responded by saying he was "not a rubber stamp."[1] But after taking oath on 20 May 2014, Manjhi stated that he would "continue to seek guidance from Nitish Kumar."[1] Due to the breakup of the JDU from the BJP-led NDA and the desertion of some JDU MLAs, CM Manjhi's government faced instability and appeared unlikely to pass the trust vote in the state legislative assembly. However, Lalu Prasad Yadav's RJD and Sonia Gandhi's Congress party provided outside support to Manjhi because he belongs to a backward caste.[28][29]

After ten months, the party asked him to resign to make way for Nitish Kumar to return as the Chief Minister. He refused and was expelled from the party for refusing on 9 February 2015, resulting in a political crisis in the state.[30] The governor asked Manjhi to seek a vote of confidence on 20 February 2015, the first day of budget session of assembly.[31] BJP announced it would support Manjhi but Manjhi was short of numbers he needed to prove the majority.[32] On 20 February 2015, Manjhi resigned from the post of Chief Minister in morning before vote.[10] He told that the legislators who supported him were threatened with death and the speaker of assembly did not allow a secret ballot so he chose to resign. He said that the people of the state are watching these politicians and will show them the power of democracy.[2]

In 2015, after resigning from the post of Chief Minister, Manjhi split and set up his own party, the Hindustan Awam Morcha-Secular(HAM-S) and joined BJP led NDA.[10]


During a speech in a meeting of Bihar State Foodgrain Businessmen's Association, Manjhi commented that his government is ready to forgive allegations against small-scale traders that indulge in black marketing and hoarding of food grains.[33] He defended their action by adding that small-scale hoarding by these traders as a means to provide sustenance to their families and education to their children, both of which, in his view, were "noble causes." Widely criticised by the Indian media as "shocking," the comment came at a time when soaring prices of essential commodities were exacerbating India's food inflation, which the credit rating agency Moody's attributed to "structural problems that have widened the gap between demand and supply of food.".[34]

Off late, he has been known for giving controversial and demeaning remarks on Hinduism and Brahmins particularly.[35]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Ghosh, Deepshikha (20 May 2014). "I'm No Rubber Stamp,' Says Nitish Kumar's Successor Jitan Ram Manjhi". Patna: NDTV. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Manjhi resigns as Bihar CM ahead of trust vote, says his supporters got death threats". The Times of India. 20 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2015.
  3. ^ "PM Modi Gaya rally: Much at stake for Manjhi". The Times of India.
  4. ^ "संतोष सुमन होंगे हम पार्टी के नये अध्यक्ष, जीतन राम मांझी ने बेटे को सौंपी अपनी राजनीतिक विरासत". Prabhat Khabar (in Hindi). Retrieved 20 February 2023.
  5. ^ "Jitan Ram Manjhi resigns as Bihar chief minister". Yahoo! News. Patna. 20 February 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2014.
  6. ^ "'Ram Vilas Dalit face wherever you go, Jitan Ram Manjhi can be Mahadalit face'". 29 July 2015.
  7. ^ "BJP government gives Jitan Ram Manjhi Z-plus VIP security cover".
  8. ^ "Now, Pappu Yadav gets 'Y' category security". 29 July 2015.
  9. ^ Bureau, National (21 July 2015). "Manjhi gets Z-plus security". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g "Jitan Ram Manjhi: The man of many U-turns looks to turn a corner". The Indian Express. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Kumar, Alok (20 May 2014). "Honest & humble man at helm Mission state for Manjhi". Telegraph India. Patna. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  12. ^ a b Brijam Pandey (19 May 2014). "Only Nitish Kumar could have thought of projecting a Mahadalit as the chief minister: Jiten Ram Manjhi". Daily News and Analysis. Patna. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  13. ^ Kumar, Amitava. "The story of Jitan Ram Manjhi, from rat-eater to Bihar chief minister". Quartz India. Retrieved 13 April 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d "Won't Join Nitish Kumar Cabinet, Says Rival-Turned-Ally Jitan Ram Manjhi". NDTV.com. 13 November 2020. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  15. ^ "Bihar Assembly Election 2005 – Barachatti (236)". Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  16. ^ "Bihar minister quits over graft charges". Outlook. Patna. 25 November 2005. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  17. ^ "Minister resigns in graft case probe". Telegraph India. 18 May 2008. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  18. ^ Hannah Gardner (31 December 2008). "India's 'outcasts' turn to rat farming". The National. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  19. ^ "Food crisis? Try rat, says minister". Ahmedabad Mirror. Reuters. 19 August 2008. Archived from the original on 7 December 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  20. ^ Kumar, Prabhakar (21 August 2008). "Bihar pushes rats on the food menu". IBN Live. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  21. ^ Qadir, Abdul (2 April 2014). "In Bihar's Gaya, it is manjhi vs manjhi vs manjhi". Times of India. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Jitan Ram Manjhi(Janata Dal (United)(JD(U))):Constituency- Makhdumpur (SC)(JAHANABAD) - Affidavit Information of Candidate".
  23. ^ "Jeetan Ram Manjhi sworn in as Bihar Chief Minister". IBN Live. 20 May 2014. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  24. ^ Kumar, Prabhakar (19 May 2014). "Nitish Kumar's close aide Jeetan Ram Manjhi named new Bihar chief minister". IBN Live. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  25. ^ Mammen, Matthew (20 February 2015). "Jitan Ram Manjhi, protégé who tried to be a man on his own". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  26. ^ "Dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi to be new CM of Bihar". Daily News and Analysis. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  27. ^ "Nitish Kumar's gambit is based on arithmetic". The Economic Times. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  28. ^ "Foe to friend: Lalu's RJD backs JD-U govt in Bihar". India Today. Patna. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  29. ^ "Lalu's RJD announces support to Jitan Ram Manjhi's JD(U) government in Bihar". Economic Times. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  30. ^ "Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi expelled from JD(U)". ABP Live. Patna.
  31. ^ "'Scripted in Delhi,' Alleges Nitish Kumar After Bihar Governor Gives Jitan Ram Manjhi Another Chance". NDTV. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  32. ^ Singh, Sanjay (19 February 2015). "Win or lose: Bihar's Nitish vs Manjhi war is more about prestige than politics". Firstpost. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  33. ^ "Bihar CM says hoarding, black marketing by small traders not crimes". India Today. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  34. ^ Kala, Anant Vijay (28 August 2014). "Moody's: Persistent Inflation Constraining India's Rating". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  35. ^ "जीतन राम मांझी के निशाने पर फिर से ब्राह्मण, बोले- एक नहीं सैकड़ों बार कहूंगा अपशब्द". News18 हिंदी (in Hindi). 23 December 2021. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
Political offices Preceded byNitish Kumar Chief Minister of Bihar 20 May 2014 - 20 February 2015 Succeeded byNitish Kumar