Escalating tension within JD(U), Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Thursday night adopted a confrontationist approach describing the February 7 meeting of JD(U) Legislature Party as “unauthorised” and ruled out that he was quitting.
“The right to call Legislature party meeting rests with leader of the Legislature party (Chief Minister). The notice of meeting called on February 7 is not an authorised one,” he said in a statement.
Manjhi also rubbished as “baseless” news about his resignation.
“Mukhya Mantri ke istiphe ki khabar bebuniyad hain iska khandan kiya jata hain (news about resignation of CM is baseless, it’s strongly denied),” a terse statement in Hindi issued by CM’s Office said.
Earlier in the evening news spread about a meeting of JD(U) Legislature party called by JD(U) President Sharad Yadav on Saturday evening.
“A meeting of JD(U) Legislature party has been called on February 7 on the direction of party President Sharad Yadav,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shrawan Kumar told reporters.
Asked about the agenda of the meeting, Shrawan Kumar, who is also Chief Whip of JD(U) in Legislative Assembly, said it would discuss the latest political situation.
After returning to state capital from Jehanabad in the evening, Manjhi was closeted with his close supporters regarding the late evening development.
After the meeting with some ministers and legislators, Manjhi’s office released the statement describing the Legislature party meet as “unauthorised”.
The development apparently reflects confrontational condition within JD(U) and a clearcut approach of Manjhi not to go without a fight.
As the news of the proposed Legislature Party meet spread, some ministers and legislators rushed to Chief Minister Manjhi’s residence to pledge their support.
HRD Minister Brishen Patel, PHED Minister Mahachandra Singh and Urban Development Minister Samrat Chaudhary were among those who met Manjhi, CMO sources said.
Senior JD(U) leader Shakuni Chaudhary and rebel MLAs Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo and Ravindra Rai also rushed to the CM’s house apparently to lend strength to Manjhi.
Bureaucrat-turned-politician K P Ramiah, who had contested the Lok Sabha election from Sasaram was also present in Manjhi’s house.
Reports suggest that Manjhi would not participate in the February 7 meeting called by Sharad Yadav.
PHED Minister Mahachandra Singh told reporters outside the CM house that the right to call Legislature party rests with the leader of the House (the chief minister.
Shakuni Chaudhary, who had crossed over to JD(U) from RJD and whose hostility towards Nitish Kumar is no secret said, “Manjhi is fire and whosoever will touch him will get burnt.”
The late night development has sharpened conflict within JD(U).
Earlier in the day, hectic parleys went on between senior leaders for transition of power from Manjhi to his predecessor Nitish Kumar.
JD(U) President Sharad Yadav twice met senior party leader and Nitish during the day and then spent an hour with Manjhi at his official residence.
After resigning from the CM’s post in the wake of party debacle in Lok Sabha poll owning moral responsibility, Nitish Kumar had handpicked Manjhi to succeed him on May 19, 2014. But, after some times relations between them soared and a power tussle ensued. BJP and NDA have extended support to Manjhi.
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