Manjhi seeks floor test as Nitish stakes claim
Battle lines were clearly drawn in Bihar on Monday as Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, expelled from the ruling JD-U, sought to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly even as his predecessor Nitish Kumar staked claim to form the government and accused Manjhi of \"horse-trading\".
Patna: Battle lines were clearly drawn in Bihar on Monday as Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, expelled from the ruling JD-U, sought to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly even as his predecessor Nitish Kumar staked claim to form the government and accused Manjhi of "horse-trading".
Days after Manjhi refused to quit and dug in his heels, things came to a boil on Monday, with Nitish Kumar meeting Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi and formally staking claim to form the next government. "Manjhi is encouraging and horse-trading," Nitish Kumar told the media outside Raj Bhavan here after he, along with Janata-Dal United chief Sharad Yadav and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, met the Governor.
Nitish Kumar, along with 130 legislators of his JD-U, the RJD, the Congress and the Communist Party of India, marched to the Raj Bhavan. Manjhi, hand-picked by then chief minister Nitish Kumar as his replacement when he quit last year after the JD-U's rout in the Lok Sabha polls, also met the governor and sought to prove his majority in the Assembly but by "secret ballot". In the 243-member Assembly, the JD-U has 115 legislators -- most of whom are reportedly with Nitish Kumar.
It is backed by 24 legislators of the RJD, five of the Congress, two Independents and one from the CPI. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 88 legislators and is supported by three Independents. Nitish Kumar accused Manjhi of trying to organise defections to stay in power.
"It appears that Manjhi has got a horse-trading licence after he met Modi in Delhi," he said, referring to the CM’s meeting in Delhi on Sunday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Nitish Kumar said they will wait for the decision of the governor to invite him to take oath and form the next government. But he warned that if the governor failed to invite him soon, they will parade their legislators before the president in Delhi. Manjhi was still defiant. "I am not running away. I am ready to prove my majority in the Assembly whenever Governor Tripathi asks me for it," he told the media.