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Squabbling in JD(U) fuels murmurs of Manjhi ouster

However, Manjhi struck a defiant posture claiming to be performing better than his mentor.
Eighteen ministers owing allegiance to Nitish Kumar had attended a dinner meeting at residence of Food minister Shyam Rajak to signal a warning to Manjhi.

Addressing a function at Banka, Manjhi in an apparent reference to previous governments’ tenure, including the Nitish regime, said earlier the state government could not spend more than 30 to 45 per cent of budgetary allocation.

“But, a poor man CM Manjhi managed to spend 58 per cent of budget on welfare works,” Manjhi commented.

He said his efforts to stop “loot of government fund” has resulted in “pain in stomach” of people who were working overtime to oust him.

While Manjhi was speaking, senior minister Narendra Singh, having emerged as CM’s close advisor, was on dais along with Shyam Rajak, who hosted dinner for pro-Nitish ministers.

Narendra Singh spoke in support of Manjhi and asked masses to work for him to continue as CM for well being of poor.

But, hours later Manjhi took a u-turn at Gaya.

On return to Gaya after laying foundation of a ropeway at Mandar hills at Banka, Manjhi appealed to people to get ready to fight Assembly elections under leadership of Nitish Kumar.

Though ministers who attended the dinner at the residence of Food Minister Shyam Rajak were tightlipped as to what transpired there, in political circles, the get-together is being seen as an attempt by the Nitish camp to send a strong message to Manjhi, whose assertions and action of changing IAS officers close to Nitish have not been taken kindly.

More than 18 ministers savoured ‘Litti Chokha’ (a traditional Bihari dish) at Rajak’s house, while some other invitees including Vijay Chaudhary, Mahachandra Singh and Manoj Kushwaha could not reach as they were out of Patna. RJD Legislature Party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui sought to keep distance from the controversy. But, BJP used the opportunity to slam JD(U).

“JD(U) cabinet seems to be a divided house...its better to call the party Janata Dal Divided instead of calling Janata Dal United,” senior BJP leader Shah Nawaz Hussain said at Bhagalpur.

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