Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary on Monday has called a meeting of all political parties in Patna to decide on different issues including the demand for the status of opposition party made by the Nitish Kumar group of JD(U). Media reports also say that Chaudhary will also discuss the seating arrangements along with other details for February 20 where Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi will seek trust vote.
What is the political crisis in Bihar?
- The political crisis began when incumbent Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi did not vacate the post for former CM Nitish Kumar, who wanted to return.
- The fight between the two leaders resulted in a split in the party.
- On 9 Feb 2015, Manjhi was expelled from the party for refusing to step down as State CM.
- Following this, he recommended dissolution of the assembly but his Cabinet did not pass the resolution. The dissolution was opposed by 21 cabinet ministers and supported by 7 ministers.
- Manjhi also requested Bihar Governor to remove two cabinet ministers, considered as Nitish's loyalists.
- In the meantime, JD(U) called meeting of 97 MLAs of party in which Nitish was elected as the leader of JD(U) state legislative party.
- He claimed to form the new government and requested the governor to test the majority in the State Assembly.
- But, when not invited to prove the majority, on Feb 11, Nitish paraded his 128 MLAs in front of President Pranab Mukherjee.
- Patna High Court stayed the election of Nitish Kumar as the leader of JD(U) state legislative party.
JDU blames BJP for the crisis
- JD(U) and its allies blamed the governor and BJP for political crisis in state but the party has denied the charge, saying the crisis arose over JD(U)'s internal issues.
The crucial date
- The Governor has asked Manjhi to seek vote of confidence on 20 February 2015.
- The vote will be held through secret ballot.
The number game
- The 243-member Bihar Assembly has 111 MLAs of JD(U), 87 of BJP, 24 of RJD, 5 of Congress. Beside this, there are 5 Independents and 10 seats are vacant of the State Assembly.
- The support of 117 MLAs is needed to prove the majority.
- Nitish claimed support of 130 MLAs; 99 from JD(U), 24 from the RJD, 5 from Congress, 1 from CPI(M) and one Independent.
- Manjhi is claiming support of 87 BJP MLAs along with 3 Independent MLAs.
A quick look into the past
- Following the humiliating defeat of JDU in Lok Sabha poll, Nitish resigned from the CM post citing moral responsibility.
- He then anointed his confidante and the minister for SC and ST welfare in his cabinet, Jitan Ram Manjhi as new CM on May 20, 2014.
- Opposition criticised the move terming Manjhi a "dummy chief minister", to which he responded by saying he was "not a rubber stamp."
- The newly formed Manjhi Government faced instability due to the breakup of the JD(U) alliance with BJP and the desertion of some JD(U) MLAs. But, RJD and Congress provided outside support to Manjhi.