PATNA: Ending suspense on its stand, BJP on Thursday announced it will back Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and vote in his favour if the trust vote is taken up in the Assembly on Friday.
The BJP has issued whip to its MLAs to vote for Mr. Manjhi during the trial of strength, senior party leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters in Patna.
Mr. Sushil Modi, who was flanked by state BJP leader Mangal Pandey and BJP Legislature Party leader Nand Kishore Yadav, said the party will neither join the Manjhi government nor take initiative to form a government on its own.
The announcement came after a two-day BJP legislative party meeting at Mr. Modi’s residence.
Taking the high moral ground, he said BJP’s support to Mr. Manjhi was aimed at avenging the insult meted out by Mr. Nitish Kumar to the mahadalit community, the poorest among dalits.
Favouring a secret vote on Friday, he said, “Only secret voting can ensure justice for the poor people of Bihar.”
The BJP has 87 MLAs in the Assembly. The magic figure is 117 in the Assembly, whose effective strength at present is 233.
Mr. Sushil Modi said the party was against frequent change of government. “We are against changing government every six months.”
Asked whether BJP was confident that Mr. Manjhi would sail through in the floor test with its help, he said, “BJP will stand with him... Mr. Manjhi has to win the confidence vote... We will play our role in his favour.”
Attacking Mr. Nitish Kumar, the BJP leader said he had “gone around the city after choosing Mr. Manjhi to succeed him as CM saying that he has honoured a mahadalit. But merely nine months after that he is working overtime to dethrone him (Mr. Manjhi)... This is an insult to mahadalits, the poorest section of the society,” he said.
He alleged that Mr. Kumar had wanted Mr. Manjhi to function under his remote control but when he (Manjhi) refused to toe the line, Mr. Kumar “ganged up to show him the door”.
Asked if BJP leaders would attend the dinner party thrown by Mr. Manjhi on Friday night, he replied in the negative.
“We have organised dinner for our MLAs and need not go anywhere to dine,” he said.
He also alleged that Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary was acting in a “partisan” manner in favour of JD(U).