Speculation rife that Bihar CM Manjhi will try to dissolve assembly

  • Arun Kumar, Hindustan Times, Patna
  • Updated: Feb 07, 2015 14:52 IST

Despite growing uncertainty over his future, Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi reportedly called an unscheduled cabinet meeting at 2pm on Saturday before leaving for Delhi.

Speculations are rife that he might recommend the dissolution of the assembly, ahead of a JD(U) legislature party meeting called by the party's national president, Sharad Yadav, scheduled for 4pm.

There was, however, no official confirmation about Manjhi's cabinet meeting. Normally, a cabinet meeting is held every Tuesday.

Sources said it was deliberately kept under wraps. A Manjhi confidante told HT that the situation had reached a flashpoint and the chief minister would not succumb to any pressure.

Bihar has become the battleground in a power struggle between Manjhi and his mentor, Nitish Kumar, as the ruling JD(U) appeared headed for a split.

On Friday evening, the chief minister recommended the sacking of two pro-Nitish ministers -- PK Shahi and Rajiv Ranjan, alias Lallan Singh -- soon after Yadav wrote to the governor not to accept any recommendations by Manjhi.

On Saturday morning, Manjhi was to inaugurate an investors' meet organised by the Bihar Foundation and address a gathering. However he did not turn up, though two of his ministerial colleagues attended the meet.

In the afternoon, he will leave for Delhi to attend a NITI Ayog meeting just around the time the JD(U) legislature party meeting will be underway.

Refusing to resign from his post, Manjhi has already termed the JD (U) meeting 'illegal' and announced that he would not attend it. The CM has called a separate meeting of the JD (U) legislature party on February 20, the day the budget session starts in Bihar.

In Delhi, sources said, Manjhi might hold a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Manjhi had sought an appointment with the PM last month, but had to cancel it following violence in Azizpur (Muzaffarpur).

Official sources, however, did not confirm if he would have a one-on-one meeting with the PM this time. "The two leaders may meet to discuss Bihar issues including central funds," a source said.

Meanwhile, there were hectic parleys at the chief minister's residence overnight to work out a course of action in the face of a political turmoil. Several legislators, ministers and advisors reached Manjhi's residence to participate in a brainstorming session to counter the move to oust him.

Similar activity was witnessed in the Nitish camp as well.

Experts say as long as chief minister Manjhi does not resign on his own, the only way to remove him from office is to defeat him on the floor of the Bihar assembly.

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