Bihar CM Manjhi heads for big showdown with Nitish, calls rebel MLA meet

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Feb 06, 2015 16:30 IST

Heading for a showdown with the Janata Dal( U) leadership, Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday called for a parallel meeting of the legislature party on February 20.

Manjhi also described the legislature party meeting called by party president Sharad Yadav on Saturday as "unauthorised".

"The right to call legislature party meeting rests with leader of the legislature party (chief minister). The notice of the meeting called on February 7 is not an authorised one," he said in a statement.

Manjhi has been resisting attempts by the party leadership to force him to make way for his predecesssor Nitish Kumar.

Earlier he refused to attend the meeting called by Yadav, though according to the JD(U) constitution the party president has the powers to call a legislature meeting.

"The CM as well as over 40 legislators will not attend the meeting," said Gyanendra Singh Gyanu, coming out of the residence of Manjhi, who was busy holding discussions with his supporters and advisors overnight.

Many of Manjhi's cabinet colleagues including Brishin Patel, Nitish Mishra, Narendra Singh, and Mahachandra Singh have come out in his support.

Both camps burnt the midnight oil assessing legal and political ramifications, even as the state headed to further political instability.

Sources close to the CM say Manjhi has an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the day of the meeting called by the party president. "As of now, the meeting with the PM stands," a Manjhi confidante told Hindustan Times.

Manjhi's speculated proximity with the BJP and the way leaders like Amit Shah and Uma Bharti, appreciated him recently is a key reason which made the JD-U leadership uncomfortable with him.

It is learnt that the party leadership had offered induction of one of Manjhi’s family members in the state cabinet, assembly ticket to his son and an important post in the organisation, but to no avail.

"We never expected Manjhi to revolt, as he was a choice of Nitish Kumar, not all legislators. If the party leadership wanted him to quit, he should have followed the instructions. His denial could invite action, " said Rajya Sabha MP KC Tyagi.

The Nitish camp dismissed Manjhi's reported threat to dissolve the house saying the minority government headed by him does not have the powers to do so.

Manjhi, meanwhile will go ahead with his usual daily routine as chief minister, attending government functions in Jamui and Khagaria.

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