New Delhi, Feb 11: JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on Wednesday took the political battle in Bihar to President Pranab Mukherjee, parading about 130 MLAs supporting him, and later said Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi can be asked to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly but in a "minimal time."
On a day the Patna High Court virtually stayed his election as JD(U) Legislature Party Leader, Kumar told reporters after the meeting with the President that delay by the Governor is "vitiating" atmosphere and encouraging "horse-trading".
He was flanked by his party President Sharad Yadav, RJD leader Lalu Prasad, SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and Congress leader C P Joshi who accompanied Kumar during the meeting with the President.
In an apparent change of tactics from demanding that he be called upon to form the government, Kumar said Governor Kesari Nath Tripathi can ask Manjhi to prove his majority if he wished so but the Chief Minister should be given only minimal time.
Echoing his line, Prasad also said Tripathi should take immediate decision and ask Manjhi to prove his majority. He alleged that the Narendra Modi government was "conspiring" to impose Governor's rule in Bihar.
"Bihar is a sensitive state. If Governor's rule is imposed, then we don't know what will happen in Bihar," he said. Kumar alleged that there was "a game plan to impose President's rule in the state".
"The President heard all the issues and at the end said that he will look into the matter," he said when asked about Mukherjee's reaction.
"There is a clear majority on one side. In Patna, we paraded 130 MLAs and today also they are standing here with me and one can see where the majority is.
Despite this, not paving the way for formation of government is an injustice and playing with democracy," the former Bihar Chief Minister said. Kumar arrived here from Patna yesterday evening, along with the MLAs supporting him, in two commercial flights.
He had staked claim before the Governor on February 9 to form a government even though Manjhi, who has been sacked from the party, has insisted that he too enjoyed support of a majority of MLAs.