Delhi: Taking the Bihar crisis to the door of the President, JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar met Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday, saying that they have the majority to form government in Bihar.
Addressing the media in the national capital, Nitish said, “We met the President and told him that we have the majority to form government in Bihar,” adding, “The President told us that he will look into the matter.”
JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and host of other leaders including those from the Congress and CPI had accompanied Nitish.
Kumar also maintained that RJD, Congress and CPI are with him.
“We want decision regarding the crisis in Bihar should be taken immediately as delay will lead to vitiation of atmosphere and encourage horse trading,” he said.
At the same time he said that Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi can ask Bihar CM to prove his majority if he wished so but Jitan Ram Manjhi should be given only minimal time.
“We told the President not to wait till the Budget session. In Budget session, the budget should be put forth by the ruling government of that time,” he said.
Slamming the BJP, Nitish said that the saffron party is trying to create trouble in Bihar.
“They are restless. Four parties are together in Bihar Assembly. The BJP has been isolated,” he said, adding, “The BJP’s game plan is to instill President’s Rule in Bihar.”
However, Nitish refused to comment on the present CM of Bihar.
Manjhi had been hand picked by Nitish to be the CM of Bihar after he had quit the post following JD(U)’s debacle in the state after 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
But now, Jitan is being accused of turning a rebel by JD(U) leaders and Nitish, mostly at the behest of BJP.
On the other hand, Manjhi has said that Nitish wanted him to be a rubber stamp CM, which he was not ready to do.
Later, addressing the press, Lalu concurred with Nitish saying that there should not be a delay in taking a decision regarding Bihar.
“There is a clear majority on one side. In Patna, we paraded 130 MLAs and today also they are standing here with me and one can see where the majority is. Despite this, not paving the way for formation of government is an injustice and playing with democracy,” Lalu said.
Meanwhile, in an apparent setback to Nitish, the Patna High Court today virtually stayed his recognition as the leader of the JD(U) Legislature Party in place of Manjhi.
“We intend to examine the legal implication of the letter issued by in-charge Secretary of Assembly (recognising Nitish Kumar as leader of JD(U) Legislature Party) so that the letter should have no legal consequences for a decision by the Governor,” a HC bench said in its order, as per media.
The court said it would hear the matter again on Wednesday next.
The division bench comprising Chief Justice LN Reddy and Justice Vikash Jain gave the direction on a PIL filed by JD(U) MLA Rajeshwar Raj, who is siding with Manjhi.
After a legislature party meeting on Saturday in which the JD(U) replaced a defiant Manjhi by electing Kumar as JD(U) LP leader, a delegation of leaders including Lalu, Congress and CPI, met Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi to call Kumar to form a new government.
Shortly later, Manjhi also met the Governor and claimed that he had the majority and that he would prove it in a trial of strength in the Assembly at a time of Governor’s choosing.
The PIL filed by JD(U) MLA, who is a Manjhi supporter, in the Patna High Court challenged the legislature party meeting called by JD(U) National President Sharad Yadav on Saturday which elected Kumar the new JD(U)LP leader in place of Manjhi.
His counsel SBK Mangalam told the court that Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhry took the decision on recognising Kumar as JD(U)LP leader in the assembly without receiving an advise from the governor. This amounted to usurping the power of the Governor, the counsel said.