PATNA: Politics in Bihar came a full circle on Saturday with Nitish Kumar once again elected as leader of the JD(U) Legislature Party at a meeting called by party president Sharad Yadav to replace CM Jitan Ram Manjhi who rebelled and recommended dissolution of the Legislative Assembly.
The Legislature Party meeting, which was termed as “unauthorised”, was attended by 97 of 111 JD(U) MLAs and 37 of 41 members of the Legislative Council, said party sources.
Earlier in the day, apparently anticipating the possible outcome of the Legislature Party meeting, Manjhi, who has refused to step down, called an unscheduled Cabinet meeting and proposed dissolution of the Assembly. The resolution was moved by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh. Seven ministers of the Cabinet okayed it, while 21 ministers refused to support it and walked out. Food Minister Shyam Rajak, considered a hardcore Nitish backer, said those at the meeting who supported the proposal to dissolve the Assembly were Narendra Singh, Brishen Patel, Binay Bihari, Shahid Ali Khan, Nitish Mishra, Bhim Singh and Mahachandra Prasad Singh.
Before the Cabinet meet, a last minute patch-up bid was made between Nitish and Manjhi by other senior party leaders though without any positive outcome. Now the ball is in Acting Governor Keshri Nath Tripathy’s court. Tripathy earlier acted on Manjhi’s recommendation and sacked senior ministers Lalan Singh and P K Shahi. Both of them are considered very close to Nitish. Later in the evening, Manjhi requested the Governor to sack 15 more ministers loyal to Nitish.