Patna, Jan 20: Amid infighting in JD(U) triggered by power tussle between Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and senior leader Nitish Kumar, a meeting of party leaders began at Kumar's residence here today to take stock of political situation.
Chief Minister Manjhi meanwhile had an hour-long meeting with Union Minister of State for Rural Development and Sanitation Ramkripal Yadav.
The CM is not present in the "training programme" for party district heads and other leaders at Kumar's 7 Circular Road residence. Ramkripal Yadav, MP from Patliputra and who left mentor Lalu Prasad's RJD to join BJP, told PTI that during his talks with CM he sounded "hurt" over recent controversy within his party triggered by unwanted comments from some JD(U) leaders.
Senior Bihar minister Narendra Singh, one among the three ministers whose resignation was sought by party spokesman Ajay Alok for alleged proximity with BJP, met state President Basistha Narayan Singh before start of programme at Kumar's house and sought strict enforcement of discipline in the party. Besides Singh, two other ministers whose resignation was sought are Brishen Patel and Nitish Mishra, son of former CM Jagannath Mishra. Narendra Singh told reporters that he expressed his "peera" (pain) over resignation demand by Alok and allegation of proximity with BJP.
"I am the person who said BJP is playing in the hands of corporate houses and is anti-farmers. So how come somebody allege I have proximity with BJP," Singh said. State Party Chief Basistha Narayan Singh, who returned from Delhi today, said though there was no talk of initiating action against anybody but "people issuing statements shall ensure it does not encroach limit."
He exuded confidence that things would be set right in the party. Asked that one minister Jay Kumar Singh and other leaders have sought early return of Kumar on Chief Minister chair, Basistha Narayan Singh said, "first let me go inside (Kumar's house) and talk to leaders." Amid disquiet within JD(U), Nitish Kumar yesterday dismissed any "plan" to replace Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. "There is no plan in the party to remove Jitan Ram Manjhi from the post of Chief Minister," Kumar had told reporters on the sidelines of a book release function at Phulwarisharif.