Bihar showdown: BJP keeps cards close to chest ahead of floor test

Unlikely to support Manjhi, will try to ‘expose’ JD(U)

By: Express News Service | Patna | Updated: February 10, 2015 1:17:21 am
Shahnawaz-Hussain-l BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain attacked Nitish Kumar, saying he was playing politics in the name of ‘Mahadalits’, the community to which Manjhi belonged. (Source: PTI photo)

With Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi announcing that he would face a floor test in the Assembly, the BJP is treading cautiously. BJP leaders indicated that the party is unlikely to support Manjhi in the floor test, but will try to “expose” JD(U) and Nitish Kumar, whom the party accused of being “hungry for power” and wanting the CM to be his “puppet”.

Any attempt to throttle democracy will harm you: Nitish to BJP

“Our stand is to wait and watch,” senior leader Shahnawaz Hussain said.
BJP said Monday that the majority has to be proved on the Assembly floor and not at the party office, as claimed by Kumar after his meeting with the Governor. “As the main opposition, BJP is keeping a close watch and will present its opinion in the Assembly. After the Governor decides, then only will BJP put forth its position,” Hussain said at a press meet at BJP headquarters.
He added that they are sure that Manjhi is “very confident” and “Nitish’s camp looks very disappointed”.

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The party is also eyeing the 20 per cent Mahadalit votes, which played a key role in JD(U)’s victory in the last Assembly elections. BJP leaders calculate that the upset Mahadalits would ensure JD(U)’s debacle in the 2015 Assembly polls. “When he had said that he would resign, why did Nitish design this intricate plot to sack a Mahadalit CM? What is the reason for Manjhi’s resignation? What were his faults?” Hussain asked.

BJP leaders admitted that MLAs who still have eight-nine months of their term left, have turned “nervous” after Manjhi’s call for fresh elections. This, they said, has forced them to side with the official faction, which is keen to complete the term with Kumar as CM.

Manjhi, chosen by then CM Nitish Kumar to succeed him after JD-U’s rout in Lok Sabha polls, has refused to step down. On Monday, JD(U) expelled Manjhi for “indiscipline.”

Hussain said Nitish should have faith in the Constitution and Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, who will decide as per constitutional provisions. “BJP feels Kumar is responsible for the current situation. He cannot remain out of power for long,” he said.

“He is hurling allegations at BJP. He needs to tell the public as to what was the reason that he broke an alliance with BJP…did the aspiration of being a Prime Minister not force him to part ways?,” Hussain asked. The BJP, sources said, will use the floor test to “expose” Kumar’s “anti-Mahadalit” move.

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