Amidst heightened speculation on the possible removal of Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad discussed plans for a merger of their parties. The talks were a prelude to the larger unity of the Janata Parivar in New Delhi but both rejected possibilities of a leadership change in Bihar.
“There is no talk about removing or not removing Jitan Ram Manjhi as Bihar CM. Those who are unable to digest the coming together of JD(U) and RJD are spreading this,” Prasad said.
“Our meeting was to discuss the merger issue. I have discussed the merger plan with Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav. A number of issues are to be decided. What will
be the common flag, common symbol and other issues. We may meet Mulayam Singh Yadav on Saturday” Prasad added.
Kumar also ruled out possibilities of Manjhi’s removal, saying that the leaders of the Janata Parivar were “busy with our merger plans and discussions on the modalities of our joint protests against the anti-people policies of the BJP government. I don’t need to come to Delhi to talk about Bihar issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, speculations about Manjhi’s removal sparked off sharp reactions in Patna, with support for the CM pouring in. State cabinet minister Narendra Singh said such a step would be “suicidal”, while RJD leader Jagadanand Singh said that removing Manjhi would be akin to the JD(U) committing ‘harakiri’.
Fishing in troubled waters, the BJP has pitched in with demands for early elections to rid the state of “continued instability and complete lack of governance”.