Defiant Manjhi expelled from Janata Dal (U)

NEW DELHI: A defiant Jitan Ram Manjhi, who has stoutly refused to step down as Chief Minister of Bihar to make way for Nitish Kumar, has been expelled from the Janata Dal (U).

The high drama that began last week when Mr. Manjhi recommended to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi dissolution of the 243-member Bihar Assembly continued as the JD (U) top brass seemed determined to force Mr. Manjhi to resign and the CM refusing to oblige.

Mr. Nitish Kumar marched to the Raj Bhawan with his MLAs in tow on Monday afternoon to stake claim for forming the Government. His party has set a 48-hour deadline to the Governor to invite Mr. Nitish Kumar.

JD (U) leader K. C. Tyagi said Mr. Nitish Kumar enjoyed the support of 130 MLAs including 100 out of 111 JD (U) MLAs besides those of its new-found ally, the RJD, the Congress and other smaller parties. He alleged that Mr. Manjhi’s revolt was being orchestrated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP (which has 88 MLAs).

This was a reference to Mr. Manjhi’s meeting with Mr. Modi on the sidelines of the maiden meeting of the Niti Ayog. here on Sunday. “The Bihar crisis was scripted in Delhi. Operation Jitan Ram Manjhi has been engineered by BJP chief president Amit Shah and it has Mr. Modi’s blessings, he said.

Mr. Tyagi said the party was prepared to display its majority in Rashtrapathi Bhavan if its efforts to convince the Governor to invite Mr. Nitish Kumar to form the Government did not succeed. An appointment has been sought with President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday to demonstrate support for Mr. Nitish Kumar.

Meanwhile, Mr Manjhi said after his 40-minute long meeting with Mr. Modi that he was the Chief Minister and he would remain in that position until the JD (U) legislature party decided otherwise.  About his meeting with the PM, he claimed that the discussion was only about the State’s development.

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