The love of the Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar, for the bureaucrats who serve him with utmost loyalty is well known. They are usually given plum post-retirement positions. But this time he created the post of additional advisor to the CM for the Indian Administrative Service officer, Manish Kumar Verma, who took voluntary retirement last year.

Manish Verma had been in Bihar for around a decade but was called back to his parent cadre which prompted him to quit the service. Nitish quickly made him a member of the Bihar State Disaster Management Authority. Now, Verma will join the former chief secretary, Anjani Kumar Singh, who is the advisor to the chief minister.

When people wondered about Nitish’s benevolence on a mid-rank former IAS officer, a senior leader in his party pointed out several links. Verma shares caste (Kurmi) and native district (Nalanda) with Nitish. He could be groomed to contest the legislative assembly elections and fill the void if the wings of the Union steel minister, RCP Singh, need to be clipped because of his closeness to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Manish is in no way being rewarded for his public service… Nitish made him the district magistrate of Patna and a stampede happened during Dussehra celebrations in which a large number of people were killed and injured. Manish was said to have been busy celebrating his son’s birthday at a posh hotel… ” said the senior Janata Dal (United) leader.