"I never backed black marketing by small traders per se, but merely said that those traders doing such activities out of ignorance should be treated sympathetically," he told reporters in the state legislature premises.

Manjhi said that he was otherwise of firm view that those traders indulging in black marketing and hoarding of goods must not be spared at all and dealt with firmly as per law.

Describing black marketing as a crime, the Chief Minister said that there was no question to give leniency to anyone indulging in such activities.

Asked that BJP leaders were seeking his resignation for his supposed support to black marketers and hoarders, he said that his adversaries had no other issue to raise and so they were making an issue out of his remark.

Manjhi had stirred a major controversy two days ago by making the alleged statement in the presence of the Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh at a function organized by the Bihar State Food grain Businessmen Association.

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