PATNA -- Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned from his post just two hours before he was to seek a vote of confidence in the state assembly.
Manjhi had earlier been expelled from his own party, and was banking on votes from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which had issued a whip to its members to support him. His resignation came in contrast to the confidence he had expressed over the last one week.
"He should have quit much before. The BJP supported him, and it now stands exposed. Their attempts at horse-trading did not succeed," said Nitish Kumar, JD(U) president in a TV interview. Kumar had stepped aside last year and appointed Manjhi in his place but the partnership soon soured.
But even with BJP's support, he would not have been able to reach the halfway mark in the assembly. On the other side were his former party Janata Dal (United), and Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal. With the support of a few Congress and other MLAs, they had 130 members on their side.
Manjhi had the support of just 13 JD(U) MLAs, and with BJP's support would have reached 100 MLAs. Without some MLAs from the other side turning around to support Manjhi, the vote would have ended in Manjhi's defeat.