Jitan Ram Manjhi, who has refused to resign as Bihar Chief Minister and step aside for his party’s choice Nitish Kumar, has been expelled.
Mr Manjhi, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday and reportedly discussed the Bihar situation, was accused by his Janata Dal United or JDU of anti-party activities, say sources.
The JDU has accused PM Modi and the BJP of helping Mr Manjhi.
“I am the Chief Minister and I will be here till the legislature party decides otherwise,” Mr Manjhi had said on Sunday after the 40-minute meeting with PM Modi. “On the floor (of the assembly), whoever gives us support we will take it,” he said.
Mr Manjhi said he asked for PM Modi’s “support” in view of the situation in Bihar. “But we were talking of development,” he claimed.
JDU sources allege that Mr Manjhi was trying to conspire with the BJP to stay in power and rake up numbers for a show of strength.
Mr Manjhi said he would step down if he failed to prove his majority but also taunted Nitish Kumar, who had handpicked him as his successor after quitting in May owning responsibility for his party’s poor performance in the national election.
“If Nitish Kumar has numbers, why is he unduly worried?,” Mr Manjhi wondered.
As he defied marching orders, the JDU tried to bring in state Governor KN Tripatjhi, giving him 48 hours to invite Nitish Kumar to take charge.
“Manjhi is the chief minister of 11 MLAs, he has no support of anybody else. We will parade all our MLAs in Delhi if need be,” JD(U) leader KC Tyagi told.
The party’s letter to the governor was signed by 130 lawmakers, who promised to support Mr Kumar.
On Saturday, the party chose Nitish Kumar as its chief ministerial nominee and reports said he would stake claim today.
Hours before the JD(U) meeting that formally endorsed Nitish Kumar’s appointment, Mr Manjhi was authorised by a quorum of seven ministers to recommend dissolution of the assembly. Twenty ministers, loyalists of Nitish Kumar, resigned in protest.
Assembly elections in Bihar are scheduled to be held later this year, and the JDU wants Nitish Kumar to lead its campaign.