Beleaguered Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Sunday put up a brave face, saying “Manjhi’s boat never sinks” even as he is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening to discuss the political crisis in Bihar.
Manjhi, who was sacked as the JD-U legislature party leader at a meeting of the party’s MLA’s yesterday, shot back when asked about his fate, saying “Manjhi ki nao kabhi nahin dubti hain (Manjhi’s boat never sinks)” but declined to make any further comment.
At the meeting today, which is scheduled to be held at 5 P.M., Manjhi and Modi could explore possibilities in light of the current situation in Bihar, they added.
Manjhi is in New Delhi to attend the NITI Aayog meet where Modi will seek views of chief ministers on the budgetary allocation for the states and various central projects even though JD(U) has disapproved of his bid to take part in the exercise, saying his position as chief minister was no longer tenable.
Although BJP is keen to exploit the crisis within JD (U) to consolidate its position in Bihar, it is also wary about propping up Manjhi, whose tenure has been criticised by its state unit for poor governance.
The lack of support for the Mahadalit leader within his own party is also dissuading BJP from coming out openly to back Manjhi as it believes that the numbers in the Bihar Assembly clearly favour Kumar.
Manjhi, on the other hand, is also exploring the possibility of fresh elections in the state — a demand also made by senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi — if the Bihar Governor Kesrinath Tripathi agrees to his Cabinet proposal to dissolve the Assembly.
Only seven members of the Manjhi Cabinet had supported the proposal at their meeting yesterday while 21 others had opposed it.
Later, 97 of JD (U)’s 111 MLAs met to replace Manjhi with Kumar as their new leader, underlining the lack of support for the chief minister within his own party.