PATNA: Senior JD(U) leader and former CM Nitish Kumar on Monday formally staked his claim to form a new government before governor Keshri Nath Tripathy, even as CM Jitan Ram Manjhi was expelled from the party.
“We met the governor and informed him that our legislative party has elected a new leader and other political parties like RJD, Congress and CPI have extended their support,” Kumar told media persons after meeting the governor. He addded that they told the governor that they were ready to prove their majority at the earliest. A decision should be taken between 24 to 48 hours to prevent any likely horse trading, Kumar said.
Kumar also told the governor that all 130 MLAs backing him were present outside Raj Bhawan and that he could present them at a moment’s notice, but Tripathy rejected the suggestion.
Later, Manjhi also met the governor and demanded voting by secret ballots on the floor of the House as many MLAs were afraid of voting for him and against Kumar. He also demanded the appointment of two observers to monitor the process.
Meanwhile, JD(U) on Monday expelled Manjhi from the party for “anti-party activities” and Speaker Uday Narain Chaudhary declared him an unattached MLA.
In a numbers game, the Manjhi camp came out claiming support of 56 MLAs from JD(U) and RJD. “At least 44 MLAs from JD(U) and 12 from RJD will back the Manjhi government during the trust vote,” said Rajiv Ranjan, a Manjhi loyalist.