Nitish, legislators leave for New Delhi; Manjhi announces quotas

Nitish, legislators leave for New Delhi; Manjhi announces quotas

18Patna, Feb 10 (IANS) Aiming to put pressure on Bihar Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi for inviting him to form the next government in the state, former chief minister Nitish Kumar left for New Delhi to parade the legislators supporting him in the Rashtrapati Bhavan Wednesday.

Meanwhile, embattled Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi sought to play the “reservation card” Tuesday as his cabinet approved reservation for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes in all government contracts of road construction up to Rs.50 lakh and reservation for poor upper castes in government jobs.

Nitish, along with the 130 legislators supporting him left for New Delhi in two batches, Janata Dal-U chief whip Sharwan Kumar said here.

“In the first batch, 60 legislators and in second batch, 70 legislators along with Nitish Kumar have left for Delhi,” he said.

According to JD-U leaders here, President Pranab Mukherjee has allotted time to Nitish Kumar Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Manjhi, who insisted that he remained chief minister till he fails to prove his majority in the state assembly, had called a cabinet meeting Tuesday where it was speculated that he may recommend dissolution of the state assembly. It was here the decision on the quotas was taken.

A JD-U leader close to him, however, said he “may or may not recommend dissolution of the state assembly, but by holding a cabinet meeting, he wanted to send a strong message that he is still a chief minister”.

Principal Secretary, Cabinet Coordination Department B.Pradhan said the cabinet meeting chaired by Manjhi has approved reservation for SC/ST in all government contracts of Rs.50 lakh, as well as the proposal for reservation of poorest of the poor upper castes in government jobs.

Nitish Kumar earlier Tuesday said that he and supporting legislators will go to Delhi to meet the president as they did not receive any invitation from the governor 24 hours after staking claim to form the next government and parade the legislators before Mukherjee.

He, along with 130 legislators of his JD-U, the Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), the Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI) Monday went to the Raj Bhavan here to show his strength.

Nitish Kumar has accused Manjhi, who was expelled from the JD-U Monday, of trying to organise defections to stay in power.

“It appears that Manjhi has got a horse-trading licence after he met Modi in Delhi,” he said,
referring to the chief minister’s meeting in Delhi Sunday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Manjhi was hand-picked by the then chief minister Nitish Kumar as his replacement after quitting last year following the JD-U’s rout in the Lok Sabha polls.

In the 243-member assembly, the JD-U has 115 legislators — most of whom are reportedly with Nitish Kumar. It is backed by 24 legislators of the RJD, five of the Congress, two Independents and one from the CPI.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has 88 legislators and is supported by three Independents.


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