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Manjhi taunts Nitish for getting emotional over death of

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Press Trust of India Patna
Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Tuesday taunted Nitish Kumar for his emotional outpourings over the death of George Fernandes, attributing these to the regret that the latter might be feeling for having denied a Lok Sabha ticket to his mentor towards the end of his political career.
Manjhi made remarks to this effect at a condolence meeting arranged by his Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM).
I do not have a way with words like Nitish Kumar has. But having known him at close quarters, I cannot help wondering whether his tears were caused by just sorrow or the regret over having snubbed the veteran, depriving him of a chance to serve the people of his constituency for the last time, Manjhi told reporters.
Manjhi, who was then himself a minister in Nitish Kumars cabinet, was referring to the 2009 Lok Sabha polls when a decision was taken not to field Fernandes the sitting MP from Muzaffarpur in view of his failing health.
The Bihar Chief Minister, who then did not hold any post controlled the party nonetheless, was accused of insulting Fernandes by allies-turned-adversaries like former Union minister Digvijaya Singh, who fought and won from Banka as an Independent in the general elections.
Fernandes himself, however, fared miserably as he lost his deposit even as the Muzaffarpur seat was retained for the JD(U) by Jainarayan Nishad, who had recently defected from the RJD.
Offering his take, Shivanand Tiwary who was then a Rajya Sabha member from the JD(U), told PTI Nitish may have erred in not talking to Fernandes himself and requesting him to hold back from contesting the polls. It is a fact that in 2004, Fernandes had barely scraped through in Muzaffarpur and a re-election would have been unlikely even if he had been considered for a ticket.
But people of Muzaffarpur did feel bad when Nitish even campaigned in favor of the JD(U) candidate, Tiwary, who is now a national vice-president of the RJD, said.
Tiwary, whose father Ramanand Tiwary a cop-turned-politician who went on to become the jail minister of Bihar had known Fernandes since the days he first shot to fame in the 1967 Lok Sabha polls wherein he defeated Congress heavyweight S K Patil in Mumbai South.
Post-Emergency, George had become a hero of sorts and his photograph wherein he appeared smiling despite being heavily shackled became a symbol of resistance to the tyranny, a reason why Jayaprakash Narayan pushed for his candidature from Muzaffarpur overruling claims of some strong local aspirants, Tiwary said.
A man of frugal habits who always washed his clothes with his own hands and always refused to get these ironed, Fernandes had also famously got the front gate of his Delhi residence removed so that visitors could have unhindered access, Tiwary recalled.
But we cannot deny that he was a man of many contradictions. He was vocal over the issue of dual membership during the Janata Party regime which left socialists at loggerheads with those from the RSS background and yet later forged an alliance with the BJP, Tiwary said.
Similarly, he strongly opposed a powerful brand like Coca Cola under Morarji Desais stewardship but looked the other way when a separate ministry of disinvestment came into being during Vajpayee era, Tiwary said.
Although he stood in solidarity with Tibetan refugees, he, along with Nitish and Sharad Yadav, was guilty of remaining silent over the Gujarat riots, Tiwary claimed.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 7:30 PM IST

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