New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Monday denied that he is in the capital to meet BJP leaders amid a simmering political crisis back home.
Manjhi, who has been expelled by his party JD(U) after he refused to step down as CM to make way for Nitish Kumar, today said he had no intention to dissolve the state Assembly or recommend President's Rule.
The denial came ahead of his likely meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee later this evening.
Manjhi told reporters that he had come to Delhi “to meet government ministers, not BJP officials”.
“I am not meeting BJP leaders; it is upto them to support or not to support me,” he added.
Sources said the Bihar CM has sought an appointment with BJP president Amit Shah amid speculation that BJP was preparing to back Manjhi's government during the trust vote in the Assembly on February 20.
On Sunday also, Manjhi met Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the national capital.
Sources close to Manjhi said that his meeting with the Governor was a courtesy call as both happened to be in the national capital, while his meeting with Singh at his residence was with regard to the Naxal problem in Bihar.
The incumbent Bihar chief minister had recently sought the expansion of his Cabinet before the trust vote and sources said that he took up the issue in his meeting with Tripathi but was offered no concrete assurance.
As per sources, the Manjhi faction of JD(U) and BJP are involved in back-channel talks for the saffron party's support to his government in the trust vote. However, BJP has said that it will take a final stand only on the floor of the House.
BJP with 87 members in the Assembly, whose effective strength at present is 233, is the main hope for Manjhi for his survival if he musters the support of 30 other MLAs. The magic figure is 117.
Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) faction has alleged that the script behind the political crisis in Bihar was written at the highest level in Delhi, apparently hinting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
(With agency inputs)