I am not a puppet, won't resign as CM, says defiant Manjhi
Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday hit back at his mentor-turned-foe Nitish Kumar, saying he will not resign.
Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Friday hit back at his mentor-turned-foe Nitish Kumar, saying he will not resign.
“Nitish has committed a big mistake. He should not think that I am a puppet. I will not resign as chief minister,” Manjhi told reporters.
“I will quit only if you prove me wrong,” he added.
Sounding confident of winning the trust vote on February 20, Manjhi said he would enter the ring as a "wrestler" without bothering about his win or loss.
"I will enter the ring as a 'pahalwan' (wrestler) without bothering how strong is the opponent and whether I will win or lose," Manjhi told reporters.
"I'll make an emotional speech to the legislators that I stand for welfare of the poor and downtrodden of the society. If you agree with me then come along and if I do not get adequate response I'll quit the CM post," Manjhi said.
Asked if he was banking on BJP support, Manjhi said "I am standing alone and shall appeal to the legislators of all parties to accept my humble appeal to continue working for the poor and downtrodden."
Manjhi's reaction came shortly after state Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi advised Nitish not to make political statements out of desperation.
The Governor made the remarks a day after the former CM accused Governor of acting at the behest of the BJP government at the Centre.
Kumar made the statement after the Governor on Wednesday asked Manjhi to prove majority on the floor of the Assembly on February 20.
The developments came even as the JD(U), in a terse message to the seven ruling party legislators who have sided with Manjhi and continued to remain ministers in his minority government, asked them to quit immediately and return to the party-fold.
"We direct all of you to immediately sever ties with Manjhi and resign as ministers in his government otherwise the party will crack whips against you all," state unit JD(U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh told reporters.
Seven JD(U) legislators - Narendra Singh, Mahachandra Prasad Singh and Bhim Singh (all three MLCs) and Nitish Mishra, Shahid Ali Khan, Samrat Chaudhary, Brishen Patel (all MLAs) had defied party line and sided with the Manjhi government.
Another minister Vinay Behari is an independent MLA.
The JD(U) had suspended Manjhi from the party after he defied its decision to resign from the chief minister's post to clear deck for Nitish Kumar to take over the reins of power.
The Speaker had subsequently declared Manjhi as an unattached member of the House.
(With agency inputs)