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Nitish Kumar plays down media speculation over Manjhi ouster

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 here.

He said 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 to remove 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.

Meanwhile, Legislators of JD(U), RJD and Congress on Sunday united to stage a dharna here to protest the “discriminatory attitude” of the NDA government at the Centre towards Bihar.

The legislators accused the Central government of slashing funds due to Bihar under schemes like MGNREGA and IAY, and reduction in funds for construction and maintenance of roads among others. Lawmakers who attended the dharna near the Gandhi Maidan included Sadanand Singh (Congress), Durga Prasad (RJD) and Gautam Singh (JD-U).
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