Efforts initiated to avoid showdown between Manjhi and party

Efforts were initiated on Saturday for avoiding a showdown between Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and his party JD (U) with patch up moves just before a Cabinet meeting called amidst reports that dissolution of the state assembly could be recommended.

Manjhi, who has been defying the party leadership’s directive of resigning, drove to the residence of his mentor Nitish Kumar with whom he has been locked in tussle.

JD (U) President Sharad Yadav, who has called a meeting of JD (U) Legislature Party later in the day, was also present. Senior pro-Manjhi ministers Narendra Singh and Brishen Patel accompanied the Chief Minister in his car.

The meeting took place two hours before crucial cabinet meeting called by the CM at his residence at 2 PM amid speculation that he might recommend dissolution of the House.

The ball for patch up effort was set rolling by Narendra Singh, a senior JD(U) leader who is the agriculture minister.

He visited Kumar’s residence around 11 AM and then the CM’s residence before accompanying Manjhi to Kumar’s residence.

Labour minister Dulal Chand Goswami, who met also Manjhi, told reporters that the two leaders (Kumar and Manjhi) will hammer out a solution.

Another minister Binay Bihari, a Manjhi supporter, told reporters outside the CM’s residence that he was not in favour of dissolution of the assembly.

Earlier, Manjhi dismissed two ministers from his rival camp and called a meeting of his cabinet this afternoon amidst reports that he might recommend dissolution of the state assembly.

Significantly, Yadav has convened the meeting of the party MLAs at 4 PM.

Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra, who has expressed support to Manjhi, confirmed the cabinet meeting though he said he is yet to receive official communication on it so far.

Meanwhile, JD(U) General Secretary K C Tyagi said Nitish Kumar would be elected at JD(U)LP meeting to take over the reins from Manjhi.

“Nitish Kumar is the first and the last choice for choosing new leader of party in the assembly,” he said.