Nitish Kumar, 130 MLAs march to Raj Bhawan

Patna, Feb 9: Former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, along with 130 legislators belonging to his JD-U, the RJD and the Congress, Monday marched to Raj Bhawan to meet Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi to stake claim to forming the next government in the state.

Nitish Kumar's main ally Rashtriya Janata Dal's chief Lalu Prasad, who arrived here from Delhi, also joined him in the march.\

Nitish Kumar

According to Janata Dal-United leaders, Tripathi invited Nitish Kumar to meet him 1.30 p.m. on Monday after he sought time for a meeting.

"Nitish Kumar will formally stake claim to form the government when he meets the governor," JD-U spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said.

He said the numbers are with Nitish Kumar as he enjoys the support of majority of JD-U legislators and its allies the RJD and the Congress.

The crisis in Bihar's ruling JD-U deepened after defiant Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi asserted he will not resign, while the rival camp led by Nitish Kumar announced to stake claim to power.

Notably, Manjhi was hand-picked by then chief minister Nitish Kumar as his replacement last year after 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 BJP has 88 legislators and it is supported by three Independents.

Manjhi, who arrived here Monday from Delhi after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, went to Raj Bhawan straight from Patna airport to attend a function there.

Manjhi is also scheduled to meet the governor at 3 p.m.

According to JD-U sources, only 12 party legislators are with Manjhi.


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