Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi tendered his resignation ahead of floor test in assembly

PATNA: Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned on Friday ahead of a crucial trust vote in the assembly, Raj Bhavan officials said. Manjhi met governor KN Tripathi an hour before the start of assembly proceedings and tendered his resignation.

TV reports said he also recommeded that the assembly be dissolved and fresh elections held in the state. Manjhi is expected to address a news conference shortly where he will formally announce his resignation

The resignation came as anti-climax to the storm within the Janata Dal (U) over the last one month, which saw Manjhi take on his one-time mentor and former chief minister Nitish Kumar with support from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The official JD (U) camp started celebrations as soon as the news broke. “We have been vindicated. The BJP’s game plan to take over Bihar has failed,” Nitish Kumar said.

The crisis in the state started after Manjhi was expelled from his party, the JD(U), after refusing to step down from the chief minister’s post to make way for Nitish Kumar and became an unattached member of the assembly.

But it became a regular war since February 7, when the JD(U) legislature party re-elected Kumar as its leader and showed Manjhi the door.

Kumar said that Manjhi, whom he nominated on May 20, had derailed Bihar’s growth and, more importantly, consorted with the BJP to put the JD(U) in real danger in the 2015 assembly polls.

Kumar asked governor Keshari Nath Tripathy on February 9 to swear him in within 48 hours and demonstrated the support of 130 MLAs – his own 97, plus RJD’s 24, Congress 5, CPI one and independent one —in Delhi. He even expelled Manjhi and suspended rebel ministers.

But the ever submissive and grateful Manjhi turned out to be the real rebel, refusing to quit unless defeated in a floor test.

He claimed to have mustered the support of at least 43 JD(U) MLAs — 12 more than the 31 required — to add to the 87 BJP legislators.

But then as it eventually turned out, he was well short of the halfway mark of 117, forcing him to put in his papers.