PATNA: Heading for a showdown with the JD(U) leadership, Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi today termed the proposed meeting of the JD(U) Legislature Party tomorrow as "unauthorised" and has instead calling a Legislature Party meeting in his capacity as Leader of the House on February 20.
Manjhi has called a meeting of JD(U) Legislature Party at his official residence at 7 PM on February 20, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office said today.
Manjhi has described the JD(U) Legislature Party meeting called by party President Sharad Yadav on February 7 as "unauthorised".
"The right to call Legislature Party meeting rests with leader of the Legislature party (Chief Minister). The notice of the meeting called on February 7 is not an authorised one," Manjhi had said in a statement late last night.
JD(U) General Secretary K C Tyagi described the Legislature Party meeting called by the party President as "valid".
According to JD(U) constitution, under Rule 21, the party the President has the power to call a meeting of Legislature Party, Tyagi told reporters.
Meanwhile, BJP said it was keeping a "wait and watch" approach over the situation.
"We are keeping a watch over the situation and will take a decision at right time...all options are open for BJP," senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told PTI in reply to a question if BJP would extend support to Manjhi in case he is sacked by his own party.
State Parliamentary Affairs minister Shrawan Kumar also refuted Manjhi's views on tomorrow's Legislature Party meeting.
The JD(U) constitution gives special privilege to the Party President to call a meeting of Legislature Party, Shrawan Kumar, who is also the JD(U) Chief Whip in the Assembly, told PTI.
Asked about Legislature party meeting called by Manjhi on February 20, Shrawan Kumar, a close confidante of Nitish Kumar, said, "The issue will be discussed in tomorrow's Legislature Party meeting."
State HRD Minister Brishen Patel has expressed support to Manjhi and said he would not attend the JD(U) Legislature Party meeting called by Sharad Yadav tomorrow.
Rural Development minister Nitish Mishra has also expressed similar views. PHED minister Mahachandra Prasad Singh and Urban Development minister Samrat Chaudhary had visited Manjhi's residence last night and expressed support to him.
Rebel JD(U) MLAs Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo and Ravindra Rai also met the Chief Minister last night and pledged support of a large number of MLAs.
JD(U) leader K C Tyagi, who is putting up in Patna along with Sharad Yadav, said the decision to give a "marching order" to Manjhi had "become imperative" in view of his repeated controversial remarks and actitivities for past few days despite being asked by top leaders to mend his ways.
He said the 2010 mandate in Bihar was in the name of Nitish Kumar and "Manjhi was only a temporary arrangement."
Tyagi said JD(U) enjoyed majority in Assembly and could prove this on floor of the House.
RJD and Congress are supporting JD(U) ministry which takes the figure well ahead of magic number of 122 in the 243-member Bihar House. JD(U) has 115 members but some rebels might turn against it during floor test, he said.