The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is likely to support chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi if he seeks a vote on his confidence motion in the Bihar assembly, party sources said Thursday.
BJP office bearers in Delhi said the party cannot now afford to vote against the confidence motion on Friday, particularly after showing sympathy towards Manjhi all along.
But, given the complex caste dynamics of Bihar, BJP seniors have advised Manjhi not to insist on a vote and announce his resignation after making an emotive speech on the floor of the house.
BJP's declaration on Wednesday that it may back Manjhi during a vote -- if it happens -- is a posturing as the saviour of a mahadalit who has been ill treated by his own party.
Manjhi's chances of surviving the trust vote are bleak, since he has not been able to cobble up the support of the additional 30-31 JD(U) MLAs required to pass the floor test. The BJP has 87 legislators and 117 is the halfway mark in the present assembly.
BJP MLAs had said they were in favour of backing Manjhi during the trust vote, but had left it on the party high command to take the final call.
“Though we have not yet arrived at a formal decision, the general opinion of our MLAs in the BJP legislature party meeting is in favour of supporting the Mahadalit CM on the floor of the house during the trust vote,” BJP spokesperson Vinod Narayan Jha, said in Patna.
Manjhi was expelled from his party, the Janata Dal (United), after refusing to step down from the chief minister’s post to make way for former mentor Nitish Kumar. The party also suspended seven ministers loyal to him on Tuesday.
Assembly speaker Uday Narain Choudhary decided that all JD(U) MLAs, including those with chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, would sit in the opposition while the CM and his ministerial colleagues would occupy the treasury benches on the day of the trust vote.