Patna: In a major setback to former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the Patna High Court on Wednesday termed his recent election as the JD(U) legislative party leader unconstitutional.
The High Court passed its order in response to a petition filed by Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's loyalist JD(U) MLA Rajeshwar Raj challenging Nitish Kumar's election as 'illegal'.
In his petition, Raj had contended that JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav had illegally summoned a legislature party meeting, which elected Nitish Kumar as its new leader.
Manjhi had also termed Yadav's decision to call the meeting as illegal and questioned the election of the former chief minister as the new leader of Janata Dal (United) legislature party.
Bihar's ruling JD-U later expelled Manjhi from the party for six years on disciplinary grounds.
In a dramatic turn of events, Nitish Kumar and his supporters met Bihar Governor KN Tripathi and informed him that Manjhi no longer enjoyed support of majority MLAs so he should be immediately removed as Chief Minister of Bihar.
Kumar, who is in Delhi today with 130 supporting MLAs of his party, RJD, Congress, one CPI and an Independent to parade them before President, had questioned the delay by Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi in inviting him to form the government.
Sources in the Rashtrapati Bhavan said the President will decide today on the plea of Kumar who wants to present supporting MLAs before the President to press a point that he has a majority in the Bihar Assembly.
While the Manjhi-led faction of JD(U) has welcomed the court's decision, the Nitish Kumar camp has alleged that the BJP ruling at the Centre is behind the political turmoil in Bihar.