Pro-Nitish ministers meet to signal message to Manjhi

Amid reports of power tussle between Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, over a dozen pro-Nitish ministers met at the residence of a senior minister here on Wednesday night signalling all was not well in the party government.

PTI| Last Updated: Jan 21, 2015, 23:44 PM IST

Patna: Amid reports of power tussle between Nitish Kumar and Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, over a dozen pro-Nitish ministers met at the residence of a senior minister here on Wednesday night signalling all was not well in the party government.

Ministers assembled at the house of Food and Civil Supplies minister Shyam Rajak in the name of dinner. But, reports in political circle suggested it was a dinner diplomacy apparently against Manjhi.

When contacted, Rajak said they have normally met over dinner and there was no politics in it.

The minister assembled at Rajak home included Vijendra Prasad Yadav, Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan, Shrawan Kumar, P K Shahi, Ramdhani Singh, Jai Kumar Singh, Awdesh Kushwaha, Lesi Singh, Binod Prasad Yadav and Dulal Chand Goswami among others, sources at Rajak home said.

All the ministers who have assembled at Rajak home over dinner are considered to be close to Nitish Kumar.

Speculation are rife that the pro-Nitish ministers were trying to give a strong message to the CM against his style of functioning.

Manjhi was out of state capital as visited Ajizpur village in Muzaffarpur district which witnessed arson on Sunday that claimed four lives.

The Bihar CM's assertions and his visit to home of Sadhu Yadav, controversial brother-in-law of Lalu Prasad, in the name of Makar Sankranti have created unease in Nitish Kumar camp.

Scene hotted up within JD(U) when party spokesman Neeraj Kumar publically resented Manjhi's visit to Sadhu Yadav home and asked him not to "tinker" with "sushan" (good governance) laid down by Nitish Kumar.

Another spokesman Ajay Alok went a step ahead and demanded resignation of three ministers -- Narendra Singh, Brishen Patel and Nitish Mishra -- alleging them of proximity with BJP and siding with Manjhi.

Narendra Singh, who is Agriculture minister, complained about Alok to Nitish Kumar, JD (U) President Sharad Yadav and state chief Basistha Narayan Singh.

But, Kumar played down the controversy saying such things happen in all parties and JD(U) was no exception.