Bihar CM Jitan Ram Manjhi in Delhi to attend NITI Aayog meet

A defiant Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who refused to step down after the ruling Janata Dal United…

A defiant Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who refused to step down after the ruling Janata Dal United (JDU) elected Nitish Kumar as the legislature party leader, flew in here from Patna to attend the NITI Aayog meet here tomorrow.

Manjhi said he will attend the meeting where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek views of Chief Ministers and Lt Governors on Budget 2015-16, flagship schemes and infrastructure projects like rail and roads to put the economy on high growth trajectory.

The rebel CM could be looking at wooing BJP in a bid to stay in power. There was no official word on whether he would separately meet the Prime Minister and BJP leaders here.

Earlier, on a day of dramatic developments in Patna, Manjhi called a meeting of his Cabinet where he proposed recommending dissolution of the Assembly but was strongly opposed by 20 Ministers loyal to Nitish Kumar while only eight supported the CM.

While the Chief Minister claimed he was authorised to take a decision on dissolution, he recommended dismissal of 15 more ministers loyal to Nitish after removing two last night.

In a counter move, 20 ministers loyal to Nitish have sent their resignation to Governor Kesrinath Tripathi, who is expected to reach here on Monday.

In Delhi, Modi and party chief Amit Shah separately discussed the evolving political situation in Bihar with party leaders including former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi.

Manjhi accused Nitish of hatching a conspiracy to unseat him.

He said the legislature party meeting convened to elect Nitish was “illegal” as only he as the elected leader could convene such a meeting. “I am still the CM,” he asserted.

Throwing a challenge to Nitish, he said the strength will be decided on the floor of the Assembly.

“For the past few days, they have been fraudulently taking signatures of MLAs to show that they have the numbers. They cannot stay without power,” he told ‘Aaj Tak’ on his arrival in Delhi.

Asked whether he will take the support of BJP to get the requisite number to stay in office, Manjhi was non-committal. “All this is a matter of speculation. This question is something for the future…majority of JD(U) MLAs are with us,” he said.

On 20 ministers woing allegiance to Nitish having submitted ther resignations, he shot bak,”Thjey have been sacked”.

An aide of Manjhi said that the Chief Minister has sought an appointment with Modi tomorrow and was awaiting a response.

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