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JD(U) meeting on Feb 7, speculation on Manjhi fate

JD(U) meeting on Feb 7, speculation on Manjhi fate
The meeting was called by JD(U) President Sharad Yadav on Thursday even as top party leaders were involved in hectic parleys.

Yadav twice met senior party leader and Nitish during the day and than spent an hour with Manjhi at his official residence. “A meeting of JD(U) Legislature party has been called on February 7 on the direction of party President Sharad Yadav,” Parliamentary Affairs minister Shrawan Kumar told a news agency. Asked about the agenda of the meeting, Shrawan Kumar, who is also Chief Whip of
JD(U) in Legislative Assembly, said it would discuss the latest political situation.

When media persons asked Nitish at the Legislative Council about the possibility of him taking over from Manjhi, he declined to give any response. Yadav told reporters earlier in the day that removal of Manjhi was not on the agenda of his visit to Patna. While top leaders did not speak anything concrete on the possibility of a change of CM, JD(U) General Secretary K C Tyagi said Yadav was keeping a watch over the situation.

“Sharadji is keeping an eye over political developments in Bihar and will take an appropriate decision in the interest of the party,” Tyagi told a news agency  in Patna. While reports of pressure being exerted on Manjhi to make way for Nitish kept doing the rounds in corridors of power, the chief minister feigned ignorance.

“Media is saying so...has Nitish Kumar said anything on my resignation,” Manjhi told reporters on the sidelines of a function. In his speech at Sugaon village in Jehanabad district, Manjhi vented his anguish at the political situation in the state, saying “Vikas ka kaam teji se karna chahta hun par dub dub ke kaam karna par raha hain (I wish to do work of development with speed but is forced to go slowly and slowly).” He further said that while Nitish did a lot for development of Bihar during his time he had kept a “distance” from party workers during his tenure.

“But, I have kept my doors open for Legislators, leaders and party workers,” Manjhi said.  Highly placed JD(U) sources said that SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has been authorised to oversee modalities for unification of old Janata Parivar parties, telephoned Nitish and reportedly asked him to take up chief ministership again to give strength to the unified party to fight the BJP in the next Assembly polls in the state due later this year.

RJD President Lalu Prasad has also indicated that any decision in JD(U) on the CM post would not hamper merger process.

Meanwhile, escalating tension within JD(U), Manjhi adopted a confrontationist approach describing the February 7 meeting as “unauthorised” and ruled out that he was quitting. “The right to call Legislature party meeting rests with leader of the Legislature party (CM). The notice of meeting called on February 7 is not an authorised one,” he said in a statement.
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