PATNA: Ahead of tomorrow's confidence vote, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today virtually dangled the carrot of ministerial berths to garner support from MLAs.
Manjhi, who was speaking at Garib Swabhiman Sammelan here, appealed to the people to request their MLAs to support him.
"You all should request your MLAs that they should support me if I have not done anything wrong in thinking about the poor. If they are going against me for becoming ministers, tell them I too have many such vacant posts. I will also make them ministers," he said.
"I did a little for the poor and they (opponents) started asking for my removal. Will you all accept this?"
"Be a little patient. I will do more for you," he said adding what he has done so far after becoming chief minister was merely a 'trailer' and the actual fight was yet to come.
"I am ready to die, but not ready to bow down," he said.
Expressing apprehension that measures announced by him could be annulled if another government comes to power, Manjhi said he has at least paved the way for the poor.
"What I have thought about could be eclipsed by those who will come after me. I am not worried about myself but I am worried about the society. I can take heart that I am going after paving the way for the poor and thinking something about everybody," he said.
Manjhi said he was made the chief minister thinking he would work as directed.
"I want to confess that for the first two months I did so. List came as to who all will become my ministers and I just signed. Lists of transfers and posting of officials came, I used to sign. I was labeled as being run by remote and as a rubber stamp Chief Minister.
"After two months, I realised that I was cheating the society as chief minister and I must do something for it as I have been given the opportunity. But when I started working for the society, people of feudal mentality became unnerved," he said.
Manjhi said even a child takes nine months to take birth, but he was not given this time. But he could do some work at least in the short period he got.
Manjhi said JD(U) National President Sharad Yadav had told him three months ago that he was under pressure to remove him (Manjhi) from the chief minister's post.
"I had told Sharad Yadav and former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that if the party is in danger due to me, or if I have done anything wrong then tell me. I will not remain even for a minute, I have no lust to be the chief minister. But they did not tell anything. They were busy in calling meeting of legislators and workers," he said.
He also accused top JD(U) leaders of demoralising and continuously insulting him in various ways, including thorugh statements by junior legislators.
Manjhi said he has remained accessible to all legislators and honoured party workers who earlier were afraid even to look at the chief minister's residence.
He urged the poor to unite as their condition was not related to caste but class and the rich had become wealthy by exploiting them.
Referring to the decisions he had taken for the poor and the Scheduled Castes like providing them 5 decimal land or money at market rates to buy it and approving the appointment of 46,000 mahadalit people as 'cleanliness workers' for villages across the state, Manjhi said his opponents were "unable to digest" such pro-poor actions.
He said he has done something for everybody including teachers, home guards, health workers and various other categories of contractual employees working in the state.
"They (the opponents) started clamouring that there is no money to implement such schemes. I want to tell everybody that I will bring money and ensure their implementation within two months," he said adding he will try to announce a 'Safai Aayog' (Cleanliness Commission) in the cabinet meeting this evening.
The Chief Minister said he will ensure that students who pass the secondary examinations in second division be given Rs 8,000 as they mostly hail from poor classes.
He announced that girl students who pass Class 12 board examinations in first division would be given Rs 15,000, while those who secure second division be given Rs 10,000.