Bihar crisis: Know how Governor may end political stalemate

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Political crisis in Bihar deepened further as JD(U) expelled its rebel Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi after he refused to step down from his post.

The party has re-elected Nitish Kumar as the leader of legislative party, who is set to stake claim to form the government in Bihar. The JD(U) LP leader will today meet Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi and will parade legislators at the Raj Bhavan Monday to exhibit the support he enjoys for staking claim to power.

Bihar crisis: What Governor may do?

Now lets discuss what will be the possible permutation and combinations which Governor can take in the backdrop of current stalemate in the State.

Will Governor recommend dissolution of the House?

Manjhi on Saturday proposed dissolution of the Assembly to which he found backing of just 7 MLAs but the Governor is not entitled to agree to Manjhi's recommendation. Experts are of the view that the Governor may not dissolve the Assembly keeping in mind the fact that Manjhi doesn't enjoys full support of the cabinet.

Hence, its highly unlikely that the Governor would dissolve the House and he will only invite Manjhi to prove majority on the floor of the House. There is another possibility that Governor can put the House in suspended animation if no party (Nitish or Manji's group) could prove its majority.

Will Governor invite Nitish Kumar to form government?

Nitish Kumar may have presented letter to parade legislators in front of the Raj Bhavan to exhibit the support he enjoys for staking claim to power. Even Bihar Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary recognised Nitish Kumar as the new leader JD(U)LP leader. But, the ball is in Governor's court. He will first invite Manjhi to face the floor test and if the latter fails to prove majority then he'll call Nitish Kumar to show his strength.

In the 243-member assembly, JD(U) has 111 MLAs, BJP 87, RJD 24, Congress 5 besides 5 independents, while ten seats are vacant. With the present effective strength of the assembly at 233, the magic figure is 117.

Nitish claims to have the support of 130 MLAs.

What will happen if Manjhi passes the floor test?

The Bihar CM claims to be enjoying the backing of 14 JD(U) legislators. He is banking heavily on the support of the BJP, which has openly come out in his favour. The BJP has 88 legislators and is supported by three Independents. If all these numbers a added then (14+88+3) Manjhi has the support of 105 MLAs. So, he still needs the support of 12 more legislators.

If Manjhi passes the test on the floor of the House by touching the 117 mark then the Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi might refer to provisions of Anti-Defection Law and check if the expelled leader enjoys support of two-third of JD(U) MLAs. In such a situation, he may see if JD(U) splits and Manjhi floats a new party.

Will President's Rule be imposed in Bihar?

Imposing President's Rule in Bihar is entirely a Governor's prerogative but he may not consider this option as Budget Session is just a few days away. If President's Rule gets imposed in the state then the Budget will be passed by the Parliament which will not be into the interest of the state. Also, Bihar is just 8 to 9 months away from the Assembly election hence the Governor may not impose President's Rule in the state.

Can Governor make Manjhi a caretaker CM?

The Governor has the option of dissolving the Assembly and appoint Manjhi as the caretaker CM till the fresh elections are conducted but in this scenario too the Budget will not be passed. An Interim Budget is passed under a caretaker government. Hence, this is also not a feasible option as it will affect the state's economy.

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