Patna, Feb 9: The political imbroglio in Bihar has reached the flash point as state chief minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi is refusing to step down even after being expelled by the ruling Janata Dal (U) on the one side and on the other his predecessor Nitish Kumar, who has been elected leader of JD(U) Legislature Party is mounting pressure and has even met the State Governor and staked claim to form a new government in Bihar.
JD(U) leader Kumar met Bihar Governnor Keshari Nath Tripathi today and told him that he has majority support of 130 MLAs, including legislators belonging to the Lalu Yadav led RJD and Congress (both these parties have given their letter of support to the Governor). The chief Minister who is leading a revolt is said to be having the support of 13 JD(U) MLAs. He is sure of getting the support of BJP, with a strength of 83 in the Bihar House and a couple of independent MLAs but even then he will be short of a majority. To tackle this shortfall, he expects the Governnor to give him a lease of life and allow him to go for a Cabinet expansion and prove his majority when the House meets for the Budget session on February 20.
Shortly after Nitish met the Governor today, Manjhi also drove to Rajbhawan here to seek clearance for a Cabinet expansion. Manji told waiting media-persons that the meeting of JD(U) Legislature Party in which Nitish was elected as leader, was illegal since the Legislature party leader only has the power to convene the party MLAs meeting. He also said that Nitish cannot be the leader of the JD(U) legislature Party since he is not a member of the Bihar House. Manjhi told journalists that he has told the Governor that he is ready to prove his majority through secret ballot.
After meeting the Governor, Nitish Kumar did not hold punches and said that the constitutional position and especially the Tenth Schedule should be honoured and he be invited to be sworn-in as Chief minister without any delay since the JD(U) Legislature Party has elected him as leader. He also questioned Manhji’s continuation in office. The former chief minister even went on to level the charge that Manjhi will go for horse trading on the advise of the Prime Minister, whom he met in New Delhi yesterday.