Santosh Kumar Suman, the son of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, resigned from the cabinet on Tuesday, dealing Bihar’s chief minister Nitish Kumar yet another setback.

Suman held the position of minister of SC/ST welfare in the state cabinet.

Former Union ministers Upendra Kushwaha and RCP Singh have already deserted the governing Janata Dal (U), making this the third consecutive setback to the party. Singh has joined the BJP, whereas Kushwaha has founded a separate party named the Rashtriya Lok Janata Dal.

Immediately following his resignation, Deputy Chief Minister Tejshwi Prasad Yadav, JDU National President Lallan Singh, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijoy Kumar Chaudhary, and senior party leader and Energy Minister Bijendra Prasad Yadav rushed to the Chief Minister’s residence to formulate a strategy for the June 23 Opposition meeting.

Former Bihar chief minister Manjhi's son resigns from Nitish's cabinet 2023 2

Manjhi’s son leaves Nitish Cabinet.

Chirag Paswan, the son of the late Dalit leader Ram Vilas Paswan, is also in close proximity to the BJP. According to a political observer, Kushwaha and Paswan are already maintaining close ties with the BJP.

Former minister Suman, along with his father Jitan Ram Manjhi, delivered his resignation letter to the state Finance and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijoy Kumar Chaudhary in the morning. The letter was addressed to the chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Suman is the only MLC representing Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) Secular in the Upper House, while the party has four MLAs.

After resigning from the cabinet, Suman told reporters, “My party’s existence was in jeopardy.” I did so to safeguard it.”

Former Bihar chief minister Manjhi's son resigns from Nitish's cabinet 2023 3

Nitish Kumar’s JDU forced his party to combine.

Jitan Ram Manjhi, the former chief minister and leader of the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), along with party legislators, met with the chief minister recently and reported that the discussions had been productive. Previously, he asserted that the party would vie for five Lok Sabha seats in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

When queried about the June 23 meeting of the Opposition, Suman stated that his party, HAM (S), had not been invited. “Meri astitva ko recognise nahi kiya gaya”

Suman stated sarcastically, “The lion in the jungle always attempts to devour the deer. We have succeeded to preserve our identity thus far.”

Assembly Opposition Leader Vijay Kumar Sinha responded to Suman’s resignation by stating, “The Nitish Government is a sinking ship, and everyone, including Kushwaha and RCP Singh, are leaving him and joining BJP.”

JDU Minister Lesi Singh stated categorically that neither the government nor the Mahagathbandhan would be affected. “Bahut log aayenge aur jaayenge. Abhi Chunao kaa samay hai!” (Many will arrive and depart. Now is election time).

Lesi Singh informed reporters that Nitish Kumar had offered him (Jitan Ram Manjhi) the coveted post of chief minister in 2014.

Manjhi, the founder of HAM, served as chief minister of his state from May 20, 2014 to February 15, 2015.

Tuesday’s cabinet meeting was postponed due to the resignation of a cabinet minister.

“HAM (S) will remain with the Mahagathbandhan unless the two leading parties – JDU and RJD – decide otherwise,” Suman said, quoting his father. We are committed to our position that we will support the Grand Alliance at all costs. We hold CM Nitish Kumar ji in the highest regard,” he told reporters.