Patna, Feb 9:
With Bihar Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi returning here from Kolkata Monday, the focus has shifted to Raj Bhavan from the prevailing political crisis in the state’s ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U).
After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi has made it clear that he would not give in to the demand for his resignation and rather seek a vote of confidence.
His party’s rival camp led by Nitish Kumar, former Bihar chief minister, has decided to parade legislators at the Raj Bhavan Monday to exhibit the support he enjoys for staking claim to power.
“All eyes would be on the move of Governor Tripathi, who arrived here from Kolkata,as his any decision will make or mar Manjhi and Nitish Kumar’s fate,” a senior JD-U leader said requesting anonymity.
According to the constitutional and legal experts here, it is all for the governor’s next move as what he would do” whether he would invite Manjhi to prove majority or he would ask Nitish to prove majority first in view of number of support of legislators”.
“Governor has several options,which he can exercise and opt,” the experts said. Meanwhile, JD-U’s ally Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janta Dal’s(RJD) legislature party meet began here at former chief minister Rabri Devi’s official residence here to discuss the political situation.
“RJD is solidly behind JD-U leader Nitish Kumar, who was re-elected as leader of the legislature party. We have majority with us and ready to prove it either today or tomorrow,” RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui told IANS here. “There are no ifs and buts, we will parade our legislators in Raj Bhavan,” he added.
Manjhi had been hand-picked by Nitish Kumar as his replacement for the chief minister’s post last year following the Lok Sabha polls. But now Manjhi has refused to quit the post. After having an audience with Modi in Delhi, Manjhi said he would either prove majority at the floor of assembly or step down if he failed.
On the other hand, JD-U state president Vashsisht Narain Singh has said that majority is with Nitish Kumar as “he is our leader. Manjhi is in minority”.
The JD-U Sunday submitted letters of support to Governor Tripathi, staking claim to form the government, a day after Nitish Kumar was re-elected as the legislature party leader, Singh said.
The JD-U has 115 legislators in the 243-member assembly, most of whom are reportedly with Nitish Kumar. It is backed by 24 legislators of the RJD, five of the Congress, one from the CPI and two independents, that make it more than a simple majority (122).
Manjhi enjoys the support of over a dozen JD-U legislators. He is banking on the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP), which has openly come out in his favour.
The BJP has 88 legislators and it supported by three independents.