Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Sunday said JD(U) would contest the Assembly polls next year under the leadership of his predecessor Nitish Kumar.
"As far as I am concerned, Kumar remains the undisputed leader of our party (JD-U). We will contest the Bihar Assembly polls due next year under his leadership," he told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
On the vexed leadership issue of the grand alliance of JD(U), RJD and Congress to take on a resurgent BJP at the hustings, Manjhi said the decision in this regard would be taken jointly by Kumar, JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
However, so far as the leadership issue in the JD(U) was concerned, the Chief Minister said he would take a lead to propose the name of his predecessor for it.
Manjhi, who has made controversial remarks on one issue or another since taking over from Kumar nearly six months ago to draw criticism from BJP and murmurs from within his own party, appeared unperturbed saying he did not get affected by praise or criticism.
"It's not my job to brood over who praises me or criticises me. My sole duty is to work for development of Bihar," the Chief Minister said.
On disqualification of membership of four JD(U) MLAs yesterday, Manjhi said it was the decision of Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary on which he could not say anything nor he could challenge the verdict.
The Speaker disqualified four JD(U) MLAs under the Anti-Defection Law following a petition of the ruling party chief whip and deposition by eyewitnesses, he said.
"It was up to the disqualified legislators to move court to challenge the decision," he said in reply to a query.
Manjhi said he was not not aware about the details of the disqualified JD(U) MLAs being debarred from perks and entitlements due to an ex-MLA.
If it was so, they should not get benefits for their current term that ceased yesterday and the same should be not applicable to their earlier terms as legislators, he said.