Bihar shock waves reach Delhi, JD(U) says Nitish will meet prez

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 11, 2015 13:59 IST

Senior Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday will seek to meet President Pranab Mukherjee to claim majority in the Bihar assembly a day after he reached Delhi with a team of 136 lawmakers who support his claim to form a new government.

PTI quoted unnamed sources in the Rashtrapati Bhavan saying President Pranab Mukherjee will decide on Wednesday on the plea of Kumar, who wants to present the supporting MLAs before the President.

"Nitish Kumarji, Sharad Yadavji, Lalu Prasad Yadavji and Mulayam Singh Yadavji will be meeting the President at 7pm today (Wednesday)," JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said.

The party had blocked over 140 seats in two different flights to ferry its flock of around 90 legislators of the JD(U), 23 from the Rashtriya Janata Dal, five from the Congress and one independent.

The development after a defiant CM Jitan Ram Manjhi said on Monday he was ready for a floor test, following his expulsion from the JD(U).

With 10 seats lying vacant, the effective strength of the Bihar assembly is 233 and 117 is the majority mark.

Bihar governor Keshari Nath Tripathi is yet to decide on a possible confidence vote in the assembly.

Kumar, who has been elected as the new JD(U) Legislature Party Leader in place of Manjhi, questioned the "delay" by Tripathi in defusing the political crisis in the state.

He told reporters in Patna that he was forced to take MLAs to the national capital to parade them before Mukherjee as Tripathi had not taken any decision.

"We took the entire bunch of 130 supporting MLAs to Raj Bhavan, gave letters of support from all of them on February 8. Then what is there to study... There is no rationale in delaying the decision to invite me to form a government," he said.

Refusing to resign, Manjhi has claimed that he still enjoys support of a majority of MLAs and Kumar has demanded that either the governor call him to prove his majority or ask Manjhi.

Kumar had met Tripathi on Monday to stake claim to form the government while Manjhi, who also met the governor later, refuted his former mentor's claim.

Manjhi, however, appeared unfazed and called a cabinet meeting, announcing he would look after 18 important departments, including home and finance, on his own.

The Dalit leader also passed a raft of populist measures, including a proposal that sanctioned preference for SC/ST contractors in state works up to Rs. 70 lakh if their bid was equal to the offer made by general category contractors. This issue had been the last straw in Manjhi’s strained relationship with the JD(U).

The chief minister also changed the policy of providing uniforms to children of weaker sections even if they did not have a mandatory 75% attendance. While general category students would need 60% attendance to get uniforms, children of weaker sections would get them even with 55%.

(With PTI inputs)

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