Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi Quits Claiming Threat To Life; Nitish Kumar Says Stand Vindicated

20/02/2015 3:14 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
PATNA, INDIA - FEBRUARY 9: Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi addresses the media after meeting Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi at Raj Bhawan, on February 9, 2015 in Patna, India. Manjhi, who has rebelled against JD(U) leadership, was expelled from the ruling JD-U, also called for a secret ballot on the floor of the House to elect the next chief minister. He said he didn't discuss politics with the PM, but lashed out at his estranged mentor Nitish Kumar. (Photo by Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Embattled Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday dramatically resigned just ahead of a floor test, the move coming despite the BJP extending support to him.

Manjhi said that he did not get respect as chief minister.

"I have submitted my resignation letter to the governor. I should have quit before," said Manjhi soon after he met Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi here Friday.

He claimed that he as well as some legislators had received threats to their lives.

An official told IANS that Manjhi met the governor ahead of a trust vote he faced later in the day. Manjhi was picked by former chief minister and JD-U leader Nitish Kumar as his replacement when he quit last year after JD-U's rout in the Lok Sabha polls.

Nitish asks for forgiveness, much like Delhi Arvind Kejriwal

"We are waiting (for a word) from the governor," said Kumar and added that they had submitted letters of support to Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi on Feb 8.

Kumar described the sudden decision of Manjhi to quit as chief minister just ahead of the floor test as "unique situation". "There was high-voltage drama."

"This is perhaps happening for the first time...The speaker was to address the joint session, half an hour before that the chief minister resigned," Kumar told reporters. Kumar, who quit last year after JD-U's rout in the Lok Sabha polls, sought forgiveness for the "mistake" he had made.

"Please forgive me," he said. Countering Manjhi's accusation, Kumar said it was "hilarious". "I have never interfered in any work," he said.

He said that BJP's game plan has been exposed. "BJP wrote this script," said Nitish referring to the unfolding political situation.

"An attempt was made to break our group," he added.

On Feb 8, the JD-U submitted letters of support to the Governor staking claim to form the government. The move came a day after Nitish Kumar was re-elected the legislature party leader.

Janata Dal-United's (JD-U) state president Vashsisht Narain Singh said the party's allies Rashtriya Janata Dal's Abdul Bari Siddiqui and the Congress' Sadanand Singh also submitted letters of support for Nitish Kumar to the governor's office.

In the 243-member assembly, the JD-U has 115 legislators - most of whom are with Nitish Kumar. The party has the support of 24 Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislators, five Congress MLAs, two Independents and a CPI MLA.

The BJP has 88 legislators and is supported by three Independents. Kumar was quick to react on Manjhi's resignation and said: "Our stand has been vindicated."

Manjhi said that he had requested Governor Tripathi to hold a secret ballot and "in that case, I would have had the support of 40-50 JD-U legislators". But, since "I realised that secret ballot may not happen, a lot of legislators would have lost their membership if it would have been known that they had voted for me, that's why I decided to quit".

Manjhi maintained that "quite a few MLAs had met him in the night and pledged support to him".

He accused JD-U of "horse-trading", an euphemism for driving a hard bargain to ensure adequate numbers in a floor test.

On Thursday, BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said that the BJP decided to support Manjhi during the confidence vote in the assembly Friday.

"After a long meeting of the BJP legislators, the party has decided to support Manjhi during his confidence vote in the assembly," Modi had said.

The fast paced political development took place a day after Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary notified JD-U leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhary as leader of opposition, replacing Nand Kishore Yadav of the BJP which will support Manjhi during the confidence vote.

Manjhi, after being expelled from the JD-U Feb 9, has been declared as an unattached member in the assembly. He was expelled for allegedly "indulging in anti-party activities".

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