PATNA: The high-voltage political drama in Bihar finally ended on Monday evening when JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar named his chief ministerial choice saying that it would be his former Cabinet colleague Jitan Ram Manjhi. “The JD(U) has staked claim to form the government in the State under Manjhi,” said Nitish.
Ex-welfare minister Manjhi, a Mahadalit leader, had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha polls from Gaya. He somehow managed to retain his security deposit.
Earlier in the day, Nitish made it clear that he’s firm on his decision to step down as chief minister.
Contrary to expectations, Nitish retained the levers of power by eliminating the names of half-a-dozen senior ministers that were floating around.
“If people give me mandate in 2015, I am ready to take up the responsibility again,” he told party men who had gathered outside
his residence in a bid to pressure him to continue as chief minister.
“After Nitish Kumar’s refusal to withdraw his resignation, the JD(U) Legislature Party has unanimously authorised him to elect a new leader to head the government,” party State president Vashisht Narain Singh said after the Legislature Party meeting.
“Following the humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha poll, Nitish Kumar has adopted a safe course by imposing a dummy chief minister as Congress did by appointing Manmohan Singh prime minister to run the government through remote control,” charged senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi at a press conference here.
Sushil Modi said, “Nitish Kumar took this step only to escape the embarrassment of shaking hands and presenting bouquets to Narendra Modi.”
Party sources said the prescripted drama was meant to quell rebellion within the JD(U).