"One must understand difference between kartavya (duty) and bhavna (sentiment)....in my case, I am duty-bound to back Nitish Kumar's candidature for the chief minister's post if the party is voted to power again during the Assembly polls later this year," he told reporters on the sidelines of the weekly programme 'Janata Ke Durbar Mein Mukhya Mantri' at his official residence.

"I will definitely support such a resolution by the party (JD-U) to elect Nitish Kumar as the chief minister as we contest the Assembly polls under his leadership for which a decision has already been taken," Manjhi said.

The Chief Minister, at the same time, appeared to turn his back on the party line saying that his sentiments prompted him to say that he should be succeeded by a Dalit in the next government after the polls.

Outlining his reasons for backing a Dalit leader to succeed him, Manjhi, who himself comes from a mahadalit Mushar community, observed that a Dalit could care more about welfare of the poor and downtrodden sections of the society.

"A Dalit can think more about plight of the Dalit community and work for their welfare," he said in defence of his line for a Dalit to succeed him in the chief minister's post.

Asked about the reported move within the ruling JD(U) to replace him anytime apparently in the wake of his statements deemed to be digressing from the party line and hurting its electoral prospects, Manjhi said the party was free to take a decision in this regard at any time it deemed fit.

"Isme galat kya hai? (what is wrong in it if there is demand by some party leaders or legislators to replace him?)," he said disarmingly.

The JD(U) legislature party was going to meet on February 20 or 23 next to prepare strategy for the budget session of the state legislature where the party legislators were free to take a decision on the Chief Minister too if they were dissatisfied with his performance, he said.

Latest News  from Bihar News Desk