Patna: Amid speculation of pressure being mounted on Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to quit and make way for Nitish Kumar, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav held a closed door meeting with Manjhi last night, JD(U) sources said on Thursday.
The sources suggested the change could come into effect after the Delhi poll and at the start of Bihar Assembly budget session on February 20.
Manjhi, who had skipped meeting of JD(U) parliamentarians and those who had contested general election, went to meet Yadav at a hotel last night where he is putting up and the two were closeted for half-an-hour together, the sources said.
Manjhi had contested unsuccessfully from Gaya (SC) seat and was expected to be present in the JD(U) meeting.
JD(U) sources said that Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has been authorised to see modalities for unification of old Janata Parivar parties telephoned Nitish Kumar and asked him to re-assume the post of CM which could give strength to the unified party against Narendra Modi in the Bihar election.
RJD president Lalu Prasad has also indicated that any decision in JD(U) on CM would not hamper merger process.
RJD sources said today Prasad has said his party was extending support to a party (JD-U) in Bihar and not an individual.
Meanwhile, Sharad Yadav went to Nitish Kumar's residence this morning where a training programme of JD(U) minority cell was in progress.
In reply to a question on removal of Manjhi, Yadav told reporters, "I had told you yesterday itself that it is not on agenda."
Speculation was rife yesterday that a decision could be taken in the evening meeting on Manjhi continuing in the Chief Minister's chair amid reports of heightening of conflict between pro-Nitish and pro-Manjhi leaders.
The immediate trigger was Manjhi publicly talking about poor performance of Road Construction Department (RCD) which forced him to replace the Secretary. Nitish Kumar's close aide Rajiv Ranjan Lallan is the RCD minister.
But, Manjhi feigned ignorance about his removal. "You all know from where such reports have come from.I am a CM and discharging my duty," Manjhi told reporters yesterday.
When asked that many leaders were talking about his removal, Manjhi shot back, "Has Nitish Kumar said this to you?"
While politics is hotting up, CM Manjhi took part in an anniversary function of Late Jaglal Chudhary in the morning.
He would be leaving for Jehanabad in the afternoon to take part in an anniversary function of Late Sukhdeo Prasad at Tehta, Chief Minister Office sources said.