Senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on Sunday scotched speculation about his successor Jitan Ram Manjhi’s ouster saying there is no substance in it and the issue was not discussed with leaders of the Janata Parivar during his recent Delhi visit.
“There is no substance in media speculation over Manjhi’s ouster . . . no discussion took place (with Janata Parivar leaders) during my visit to Delhi nor was it necessary,” Kumar told reporters at the airport.
He said that he had visited Delhi to take forward the merger process of the erstwhile Janata Parivar constituents and it (discussion on Manjhi’s fate) was not part of his agenda.
Asked whether the JD (U) was considering removing the Chief Minister, Kumar said replying to these questions would give grist to the rumour mills.
“Replying to your (reporters) question will amount to adding more fuel to the controversy,” he said.
The senior JD (U) leader expressed surprise over media reports surfacing on the Chief Minister’s removal saying he did not know how the speculation gained currency.
“I don’t know why and how the media started speculating on this issue (Manjhi’s ouster),” he said.
Speculation was rife for the past one week that the JD (U) leadership might remove Manjhi from the Chief Minister’s post in the wake of his controversial remarks.
Manjhi had made a series of contentious statements to that of his party in hailing the Patna High Court judgement to restore membership of four rebel JD(U) MLAs, disqualified by the Speaker two months ago, and went on to say he had never favoured coercive action against the four legislators.
The Chief Minister had also effected major reshuffle in the bureaucracy and shifted senior officials known to be close to Nitish Kumar, a move which had not gone down well with the ministers and party leaders.