NATIONAL

Bihar crisis: Nitish to meet President

The former Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal(U) leader Nitish Kumar at the Patna airport to fly to Delhi on Tuesday. He, along with 130 MLAs from the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress, plans to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday to reiterate his claim to form a government in Bihar.— Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

The former Bihar Chief Minister and Janata Dal(U) leader Nitish Kumar at the Patna airport to fly to Delhi on Tuesday. He, along with 130 MLAs from the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress, plans to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday to reiterate his claim to form a government in Bihar.— Photo: Ranjeet Kumar  

The JD(U) leader arrives in Delhi with 130 MLAs

The Janata Dal(U) leader Nitish Kumar arrived here from Patna on Tuesday along with 130 MLAs who have promised to support him as Chief Minister, thus bringing the crisis in Bihar at the President’s doorstep. Besides the JD(U), the MLAs belong to the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Congress and the CPI.

Mr. Kumar, JD(U) leaders Sharad Yadav and K.C. Tyagi, and RJD leader Lalu Prasad have sought an appointment with President Pranab Mukherjee for the show of strength. The meeting is likely to be held on Wednesday, say JD(U) sources.

On Saturday, Mr. Kumar was elected leader of the JD(U) legislature party in Bihar, replacing incumbent, Jitan Ram Manjhi. The JD(U) leadership insists that Mr. Manjhi has lost the confidence of all but 12 MLAs as he has been hobnobbing with the BJP.

On Monday, Mr. Kumar met Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi in Patna and asked him to let him prove his strength on the floor of the Assembly within 48 hours. As there was a delay in response, Mr. Kumar and his colleagues decided to leave for Delhi to make their case before the President, JD(U) leader Mr. Tyagi told The Hindu. Recalling precedents, JD(U) sources said that in 1984 when the then Andhra Pradesh Governor Ram Lal dismissed Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao and appointed N. Bhaskara Rao, who had left his party without a floor test, the Telugu Desam Party founder flew to Delhi with his 161 MLAs and paraded them before the President.

Following BJP’s decisive defeat in the Delhi Assembly elections on Tuesday, the JD(U) leadership clearly feels this is the right time to force Mr. Tripathi to permit a floor test.

‘Next referendum in Bihar’

Before leaving for Delhi, Mr. Kumar said that just as in Delhi, the Bihar elections too would be a referendum for the BJP. While attacking the BJP for creating a political crisis in Bihar, Mr. Kumar admitted he was rectifying his mistake of appointing Mr. Manjhi his successor.

“People from all parts of the country live in Delhi. So the referendum which has come out in Delhi will have a pan-Indian impact and in the upcoming Bihar Assembly poll, the BJP will have to face similar results,” Mr. Kumar said. Amid the fast changing political scenario, Mr. Manjhi distributed all vacant departments among himself and the seven Ministers.

( With additional reporting by Amarnath Tewary in Patna )

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