Patna: Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi, at a press conference in Patna on Thursday said that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should resign from his post on moral grounds in the wake of the outbreak of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) in Bihar that has left over 160 children dead.

Manjhi said both the state and the central governments were responsible for the deaths of children in Bihar as the administration had failed to provide timely medical care to the victims during the initial stage of the epidemic that was mostly concentrated in Muzaffarpur before spreading in other parts of the state.

"The Chief Minister should take responsibility for the deaths of the children and resign on moral ground," Manjhi, who was made the Chief Minister of Bihar for a brief period of time between 2014 and 2015 by none other than his ex-idol Nitish Kumar, said adding the Chief Minister had failed to fulfill his promise of turning Bihar into a healthcare mecca that he made multiple times during last three election cycles.

"There is healthcare in name only in Bihar. Patients still have to go out of state to receive quality care. Our hospitals are woefully inadequate and unprepared to deal with any medical outbreak and under these conditions, the Chief Minister must take full responsibility for the death of the children and resign from his post," he said.

Continuing his assault on Nitish Kumar, the former Chief Minister slammed his former mentor saying the Janata Dal – U leader squandered millions upon millions of rupees on 'useless' things like a new museum, Samrat Ashok Hall, Sabhyata Dwaar etc. that could have been easily invested on upgrading hospitals and health care system in the state that would have positive effects on the people of Bihar.

Manjhi, who like Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) chief Upendra Kushwaha is struggling to remain relevant in Bihar politics after their humiliating drubbing in the last Lok Sabha elections, said his party will hold a dharna in Patna on June 26 to protest against the government's failure to save the children from dying due to AES.

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