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Former Bihar chief minister refuses to vacate CM bunglaow.

Patna: The fight for the chief minister's bungalow has turned murkier in Bihar. More than a month after he resigned as the chief minister, Jitan Ram Manjhi has been refusing to vacate 1, Anne Marg, the official residence of Bihar chief minister, and hand over the same to his successor Nitish Kumar. Kumar was sworn in as the new chief minister of Bihar on February 22.

The state government has allotted Manjhi a fresh bungalow to move in, but now he has set a new condition to vacate the official bungalow of the chief minister.

His condition is that Kumar should first vacate his palatial bungalow which was allotted to him in the capacity of former chief minister. Kumar is currently staying at 7, Circular Road bungalow -- known in local parlance as 7, Race Course Road, the official residence and principal workplace of the Prime Minister of India -- given its political importance.

"There is no problem in vacating the CM's house. My lone condition is that Nitish Kumar should first vacate his official residence at 7, Circular Road which is earmarked for a former chief minister. In that case, I will move into his bungalows while he will occupy the CM's House," explained Manjhi who has now formed Hindustani Awam Morcha to spearhead agitation against the present Janata Dal (United) government headed by Kumar.

He said more than him, it was Kumar who had problems in vacating the official bungalow he is currently staying. He said Kumar had spent more than Rs50 million (Dh184 million) on renovating the 7, Circular Road bungalow before moving in. "So, even if I vacate the CM House, he will not be moving therein so easily given his past habits. He will more likely be renovating it again to make it "liveable" since a Dalit like him had stayed there. So by the time, the bungalow will get ready, state polls will be announced. After elections, he already will not be there since is going to badly lose polls," Manjhi predicted.

The Nitish Kumar government has also served notices on three former ministers, known to be Manjhi's supporters, to vacate the bungalows. They too have refused to comply with the government's order.

Earlier, former chief minister Rabri Devi had refused to vacate the CM's bungalow for over two months soon after losing the November 2005 elections. It was only after much effort she ultimately vacated it and moved into nearby 10, Circular Road. The sheer irony is that Kumar is now a close neighbour of Rabri Devi, wife of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad. Also, both Kumar and Prasad have now turned friends and hope to fight the next elections together.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Mar 30, 2015
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