Bihar crisis: Nitish meets President, parades legislators, seeks immediate assembly session
Pat, February 11: In a set back to JD-U leader Nitish Kumar, the Pat High Court on Wednesday stayed his election as the new leader of the legislature party, a government lawyer said.
Hearing a petition filed by Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s loyalist, legislator Rajeshwar Raj, a bench of the court stayed Nitish Kumar’s election as the new leader of the JD-U legislature party.
The court has fixed February 17 as next date of hearing.
Raj last Monday filed a PIL in the court challenging the legality of party president Sharad Yadav’s action in summoning the legislature party meeting Saturday which elected Nitish Kumar as its new leader.
Bihar’s ruling Jata Dal-United had on Monday expelled Manjhi from the party for six years, chief whip Shrawan Kumar said.
Meanwhile, JD-U leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday met President Prab Mukherjee and requested that Bihar Governor Keshri th Tripathi be given instructions to take immediate decision on calling a special session of the legislative assembly to test his majority as he had the support of 130 legislators.
The Jata Dal-United leader, who was accompanied by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, Rashtriya Jata Dal leader Lalu Prasad and Congress general secretary C.P. Joshi, said delay in the floor test was “spoiling the atmosphere” in Bihar and promoting “horse-trading”.
The former Bihar chief minister was also accompanied by legislators supporting him, belonging to his own party, the RJD, the Congress and the Communist Party of India.
Bihar is facing a political crisis following the JD-U’s decision to elect Nitish Kumar as its legislature party leader and expel chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi from the party.
Manjhi, who has refused to step down as chief minister, has said the test of majority should be conducted on the floor of the house.
Nitish Kumar, who has met the governor to convey that the majority support was with him, said there should be an immediate decision on the issue.
“The governor is a nominee of the president. We came to him with a prayer that the path should be paved for formation of (altertive) government in Bihar at the earliest. We requested him to give directions for an immediate decision,” he said.
Nitish Kumar said the Manjhi government may be given a chance to prove its majority but without delay.
“The president heard us patiently and said he will look into it (our demand),” he said.
Nitish Kumar said the governor should not wait till the budget session to be held later this month.
In the 243-member Bihar assembly, the JD-U has 115 legislators — most of whom are reportedly with Nitish Kumar. It is backed by 24 legislators of the RJD, five of the Congress, two independents and one from the CPI. The Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) has 88 legislators and is supported by three independents.
Nitish Kumar, who also gave a memorandum to the president, said the media could count 130 legislators supporting him. IANS