Amidst heightened political turmoil, Bihar agriculture minister Narendra Singh on Wednesday claimed that he was being threatened for supporting chief minister Jitan Ram Majhi, who is set to tide over the vote of confidence with the backing of about 140 MLAs in the assembly.
Talking to mediapersons, Singh claimed that a person named 'Choudhary' had called him on his mobile at 8.47am when he was with the chief minister and threatened him for backing Manjhi and campaigning against JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar.
"The caller had cautioned me that I would have to face dire consequences within 24 hours if I did not stop opposing Kumar," alleged Singh, saying that he would reveal the number of the caller after lodging an FIR.
Dismissing the JD(U) act of suspending MLAs believed to be in support of Manjhi, Singh said that the step was 'unconstitutional' as they were neither served any show-cause notice nor asked for an explanation in accordance with the party constitution.
"It was like electing Nitish Kumar as JD(U) legislature party leader at a tea-vending shop over a chat," he claimed.
Accusing Kumar of humiliating and defrauding dalits and the downtrodden, Singh claimed that the former chief minister had launched a drive to oust Manjhi after the latter transferred some bureaucrats believed to be close to Nitish Kumar.
"Ministers and bureaucrats of Nitish Kumar camp became restive when Manjhi started restraining corruption," said Singh.
Referring to the tussle over transfer of about 200 engineers in the road construction department, the agriculture minister said that the minister holding the department was unhappy with the "honest and upright" secretary, just because he tried to rein in corruption in the department.
"Ultimately the minister got the honest secretary removed from the department against the will of the chief minister," said Singh.
Asked about his confidence in getting required support for Manjhi in the assembly, Singh said it would be visible on the floor of the house during the trust vote.
"Manjhi has the support of 140 MLAs," he claimed, while refusing to divulge the details from where the chief minister is expecting support.
"We have approached the BJP and asked for its support. The rest would be managed on the floor," he added.