Blaming BJP for the “chaos” in Bihar by propping up Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi against him, senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar today trashed the saffron party for justifying the 14-day time given to Manjhi to seek a vote of confidence.
Rueing he had only got seven days to prove his majority in 2000, Kumar said “Both situations are not comparable”.
In 2000, the alliance of JD(U), Samata Party, BJP, LJP and independents had won 152 seats in the 324-member Bihar Assembly (before creation of Jharkhand), while the number with RJD was less than 152.
Kumar was asked to prove his majority on the floor of the House within seven days. He failed to muster the numbers and quit before the trust vote could be taken up.
“Manjhi has been expelled by JD(U) for refusing to vacate the chair of Chief Minister and the party is reclaiming the post on the basis of its majority. Though BJP is clandestinely supporting Manjhi, still he does not have the numbers,” he said.
“The writing is clearly on the wall that 130 MLAs of JD(U), RJD, Congress, one CPI and an Independent are with us. In such a condition, giving 14-day time to Manjhi by the Governor for floor test cannot be justified from any angle,” Kumar, who was elected as the new JD(U) Legislature Party leader said.
Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of being behind the “script” to wipe him out, Kumar said “Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi was convinced during our meeting on February 9 that opportunity should be given to Manjhi to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly well ahead of February 20. But, everything changed after Manjhi met the PM.”
JD(U) was not against an opportunity to Manjhi to prove his majority in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling in the S R Bommai case, the JD(U) leader said adding, “But giving such a long time of 14 days cannot be justified.”
Kumar rubbished the plea for secret ballot saying it was against the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, which deals with anti-defection law.
“How can a popular government run on the basis of secret ballot?” he asked stressing those who violate the party whip would be expelled.
Kumar also alleged that the BJP stood exposed by propping up Manjhi against him.
“Earlier, BJP leaders used to give one out of ten marks to Manjhi for his performance… what has changed now that they are supporting a person who is confessing of taking commission from development projects?” he asked.
“In a desperate attempt, Manjhi tried to impress upon Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to ask the CBI to go after Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary in an old case to browbeat him before trust vote,” Kumar alleged, adding “But the efforts did not bear fruit as rules and procedure of the central agency did not permit it.”