Bihar Live: Nitish Kumar sworn-in as Chief Minister

5.13 pm: Nitish Kumar takes oath as Chief Minister

JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar has taken oath as the Bihar Chief Minister for the fourth time.

He took oath in the Raj Bhavan in Patna in the presence of several leaders like Tarun Gogoi, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Yadav.

Jitan Manjhi and BJP's Sushil Modi were also present on the occasion.

11.27 am: Will work readily with Centre for Bihar's development, says Nitish

In an article on NDTV.com, Nitish Kumar said that he will readily work to transform "the poorest state in India" to a developed state.

 Bihar Live: Nitish Kumar sworn-in as Chief Minister

Nitish Kumar said he will readily work for Bihar's development. PTI

Nitish said that apart from the state government's efforts, Bihar also needed strong support from the Centre "to bridge the yawning regional disparity of the country through supportive policy formulations." He also said that the Special Category Status was one policy measure which could go a long way in Bihar's development.

In the article, Kumar also talked about the importance of lending from banks in growth of the private sector and development of basic infrastructure. "The investment case of Bihar is simple and will provide time-bound returns to the investor, state, and society," he said in the report.

While Kumar said that his government would work for much-needed urban planning and development and an agricultural roadmap to help the small farmers of the state and make the agriculture industry more productive, he also said that law and order would be key to address the problems of injustice and divisiveness in the state. "Bihar is vulnerable to injustice, inaction and divisiveness. While proactive governance is the way to mitigate the risk of natural disasters, the only way to make the state resilient on the social front is the approach of Development with Justice," he said.

22 February, 10.02 am: Nitish to take oath as Bihar CM at 5 pm

Nitish Kumar will take oath as chief minister of Bihar at 5 pm today, ending weeks of political uncertainty in the state.

Nitish said his government would take a decision to call the new budget session of Bihar Assembly and fix a date for speech of Governor in the joint session.

End of updates for 20 February

5.38 pm: Oath on 22 February, have to prove majority by 16 March, says Nitish

After meeting the governor of Bihar, a very happy Nitish Kumar confirmed that he has been invited to form government in the state.

Nitish, speaking to the media outside the Raj Bhavan in Patna said, "The governor has invited us to form government in Bihar."

"Today we reiterated our stand that we have majority, and he accepted it and asked us to form government.
The swearing-in ceremony will be on 22 February, at 5 pm," he said.

"We have been given time till 16 March to prove our majority in the Bihar Assembly," he added.

The swearing-in ceremony will be at the Raj Bhavan in Patna where Nitish will take oath as Bihar CM for the third time.

5.03 pm: Nitish stakes claim for govt, likely to take oath on 22 February

Nitish Kumar has met Bihar Keshari Nath Tripathi and staked claim to form government in the state.

According to reports Nitish Kumar will take oath as Bihar chief minister at 5 pm on 22 February.

4.28 pm: Nitish to meet Governor at 4.30 pm to stake claim for govt formation

Nitish Kumar in a file photo. PTI

Nitish Kumar in a file photo. PTI

After Jitan Ram Manjhi quit as chief minister of Bihar, former CM Nitish Kumar is going to meet the Bihar governor to stake claim to form government in the state.

According to CNN-IBN, Nitish will meet Keshari Nath Tripathi at 4.30 pm.

This comes after Nitish promised good governance in the state earlier in the day. He had said, ""I want to assure the people of Bihar that if I get an opportunity again I will serve them in the same spirit I did for eight and a half year. Good governance was and will remain my priority."

"I also apologise for my decision to quit. I will never take an emotional decision again. Now I am ready to lead from the front," Kumar had said.

4.05 pm: Manjhi quit as BJP panicked, says Congress

The BJP on Friday accused JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar of "sacrificing" a Mahadalit while the Congress saw BJP's "panic" behind Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's resignation hours before a trust vote in Assembly and said it will pay the price for its "conspiracy" in Bihar elections.

"Nitish Kumar will have to answer the people of Bihar and convince them on why he made Manjhi the Chief Minister eight months back. Kumar keeps on playing such games for his political opportunism. People of Bihar are seeing all this. He has no principles. He keeps on doing such immoral things to remain in power," BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, who heads the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), an NDA ally in Bihar, said, "Nitish Kumar earlier created divide among Dalits by doing Mahadalit politics. He first damaged Paswans. Now he has sacrificed a Mahadalit Jitan Ram Manjhi to capture power himself." -- PTI

2.32 pm: BJP tried grabbing power in Bihar by playing games behind the curtains, says Mayawati

BSP supremo Mayawati hit out at BJP for playing games "behind the curtains, to grab power" in Bihar. "By supporting 'mahadalit' Jitan Ram Manjhi, BJP tried to keep Nitish Kumar away from power by using all the tactics. Due to this, Bihar had to face political crisis and instability. This has not only adversely affected social and political atmosphere of the state but also sent a wrong message across the country," Mayawati, a dalit leader herself, said.

"Behind the curtain attempts made by Modi-led government in Bihar are vitiating the atmosphere. BJP should shun such politics ahead of Bihar polls scheduled later this year," she said. - PTI

2.05 pm: Manjhi's allegations were ridiculous, BJP used 'jugaad technology' in Bihar, says Nitish

"Whatever happened after Manjhi's resignation was ridiculous," said Nitsh Kumar. "BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav told media that the 'jugaad' of majority was to be done by Manjhi, not BJP. He himself used the word 'jugaad'. BJP tried using 'jugaad' technology to disrupt politics in Bihar," he added.

"It was repeatedly said that only 12 MLAs supported Manjhi. But BJP was encouraging this game. It created the script for this political drama," said Nitish. On Manjhi's allegation that he was not allowed to work when was Bihar CM, Nitish said, "It is the biggest lie that we interfered with the working of the government. It is not in my nature to do this."

Nitish Kumar also apologised for quitting as Chief Minister after the Lok Sabha polls. "I admit that resigning as CM was a mistake. I am now ready to lead the government," said Nitish. He also thanked other political parties for giving him support. "RJD, Congress and CPI protested against efforts made to impose President's rule in Bihar. I also thank Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati for their support. I thank Shiv Sena, a party which is part of the government, for raising its voice in our support," he said.

On the charges that a Mahadalit was being targetted by JD(U), Nitish said, "BJP was trying to play the caste card. Whenever someone takes a constitutional post, he is not identified by his caste. We will work for development of all castes. BJP was hungry for power and can do anything for power. The party was trying to divide the society through caste politics."

1.58 pm: Manjhi should've resigned gracefully earlier, says Nitish

"Half an hour before the Bihar Assembly session was to begin, the Chief Minister resigned," Nitish said in a press conference on Manjhi's resignation. "Thus, after calling for an Assembly session, after all the preparations for the Session had been made, Manjhi left the field and ran away," he said.

Calling Manjhi's resignation right before the Assembly session a unique incident in parliamentary history, Nitish said, "Last night, there was high-voltage drama being created. Before he (Manjhi) resigned, he did not leave anystone unturned to disrupt the political situation in Bihar. BJP also announced their support to Manjhi last night. People of Bihar know about this.

"Attempts were made to demoralise the Speaker from all sides. They even took the help of courts. But when all his efforts failed, Manjhi resigned."

Nitish said that he and his supporters had been demanding Manjhi's resignation for a long time. "He should have resigned gracefully much before the Budget Session. All these things were done by him under BJP's directions," Nitish said.

1.17 pm: Nitish Kumar meets all JD(U) MLAs

Nitish Kumar met all JD(U) MLAs, according to CNN-IBN. He is also expected to meet Bihar Governor KN Tripathi to stake claim to form the government.

12.36 pm: Bihar Assembly adjourned

The Bihar Assembly was adjourned sine die. Meanwhile, BJP leader NK Yadav referred to the Mahabharata like Manjhi and described today's events so far by saying, "Kauravo ne Abhimanyu ka vadh kar diya (Abhimanyu was murdered by Kauravas)."

Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi's address to the joint session of Bihar Legislature was also cancelled due to the "special circumstances" arising in the wake of Manjhi's resignation, reported PTI.

"I have received a letter from Principal Secretary of Governor Brajesh Mehrotra that due to 'special circumstances' the Governor will not be able to address joint session of Bihar Legislature on start of the Budget session," Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary announced in the Assembly.

12.11 pm: Nitish is like Bhishma Pitamah, didn't do anything when I was being abused, says Manjhi

Referring to the Mahabharata, Jitan Ram Manjhi said, "Nitish Kumar is like Bhishma Pitamah. When Draupadi was being stripped, Bhishma Pitamah just stood and watched and did nothing. Similarly, when I was being abused and was not allowed to do my work as Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar did nothing."

Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned as Bihar CM today. ANI/Twitter

Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned as Bihar CM today. ANI/Twitter

"I come from a Dalit family. I have lived only for social service. Nitish had given me an opportunity. But after 2 or 3 months, I was not allowed to do anything on my own," said Manjhi. "I had great respect for Nitish Kumar, but he used me."

"I want to thank the media for telling people how I was used as a remote and a rubber stamp. The politicians supporting Nitish Kumar indulged in politics only for money," said Manjhi.

11.59 am: Manjhi says the post of CM was not respected

"We were very disappointed with the sitting arrangements in the Bihar Assembly. The traditions which had been followed earlier were not being followed now...The person who we had appointed as the Chief Whip was not appointed. The CM has the right to select the Chief Whip. This right was not respected by the House," said Manjhi.

"We also did not see the name of Nand Kishore Yadav as the Leader of Opposition. The Speaker did many wrong things. I have always suspected the conduct of the Speaker," said the former Bihar CM. "I had requested for secret ballot. The Speaker did not even do that. He had made it clear that such a provision doesn't exist in the assembly."

"Looking at such a situation, I informed the Governor that the just Parliament system was not present in the Bihar Assembly. Therefore, I handed my resignation to him," he said. Manjhi also claimed that he still had the support of 140 MLAs in the Assembly.

11.41 am: My ministers received death threats, says Manjhi

Jitan Ram Manjhi, at a press conference, said that he resigned as the Bihar CM because of the threats he and his ministers were receiving. He also said that the post of the Chief Minister was not respected by the Bihar Speaker.

"Ministers were given death threats. Even I received threats," said Manjhi. He added that his ministers were also offered bribes upto Rs 5 crores and a lot of horse-trading was done by his opponents. "A lot of violence would've followed if I had not resigned. Therefore, to save my poor supporters from bloodshed and violence, I resigned. I realised that was the only way out of this problem," said Manjhi.

11.31 am: BJP MLAs protest over Manjhi's resignation

BJP MLAs staged a protest over Manjhi's resignation outside the Bihar Assembly. BJP leaders also accused Nitish Kumar of insulting the Mahadalit community. "Nitish has to explain why Manjhi was made the CM earlier. People of Bihar know that Nitish Kumar is interested only about his own selfish needs. He did whatever he did to save his sinking ship," said Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan.

11.26 am: Manjhi fell into BJP's trap, ruined his own future, says Lalu

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav said Manjhi should have resigned earlier. "He should've resigned earlier. He fell into BJP's trap and ruined his own future," said Lalu Prasad.

Congress leader Manish Tewari also criticised BJP and said that the saffron party panicked at the last moment. "The conspiracy had to unravel at some point of time. At the last moment, BJP panicked. Manjhi became the fall guy. If you try and destabilise the government, if you engineer splits, you will be punished severely. Wait and see what happens in the Bihar elections," he told Times Now.

11.11 am: We supported justice, did not abandon a Mahadalit, says BJP

BJP said it stood by Manjhi even after his resignation. "We continue to stand by Manjhi. BJP supported justice. We did not abandon a Mahadalit. We stood by him," said BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain.

Another BJP leader Sunil Pintu said, "Manjhi asked us for help. We gave it to him. Our purpose has not been defeated. We had said we will not allow JD(U) to use and throw a Mahadalit. That's why we had given him support."

10.57 am: BJP's gameplan has been exposed, says Nitish

Nitish Kumar reacted to Manjhi's resignation and said BJP's plan has been exposed. "BJP's game-plan has been exposed. We had been saying this issue should be decided before the Budget session," said Nitish. "We will give a proper reaction later after receiving formal confirmation," he added.

10.53 am: Manjhi seeks fresh elections in Bihar

Jitan Ram Manjhi seeks fresh elections in Bihar and recommended the dissolution of Bihar Assembly, according to CNN-IBN.

10.34 am: Manjhi resigns as Bihar CM

Jitan Ram Manjhi has resigned as the Bihar Chief Minister, say reports. He will reportedly hold a press conference at 11.30 am, according to reports.

"This is a victory for democracy. He should've done this before. He was acting on BJP agenda. The Governor is his agent and Manjhi encouraged horse-trading," JD(U) leader Rajesh Singh told Times Now.

10.27 am: Manjhi meets Bihar Governor, might resign

Jitan Ram Manjhi met the Bihar Governor at the Governor's residence and might resign as Bihar CM before the floor test, Manjhi supporters Times Now.

10.04 am: Nitish supporters protest outside Assembly

Gagging themselves with black bands, JD(U) MLAs supporting Nitish Kumar staged a protest outside the Bihar Assembly.

One of the protesters told NDTV that they will continue their protest outside the Assembly for the entire duration of the Governor's speech. "The Governor is supporting someone who does not have majority. BJP has a role in this. We will protest against the Governor's speech," said one of the protesters.

9.14 am: Will boycott Governor's speech, says JD(U)

JD(U) leader Ajay Alok said that his party, RJD, Congress, CPI and one independent will boycott the Governor's speech in the Bihar Assembly since it would have been prepared by a minority government. "All the JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI members and one independent member will go and boycott the Governor's speech. We won't listen to a speech prepared by a minority government, something which follows no constitutional norms," Alok said.

Alok also said that today's session was a historic event in the politics of Bihar. "A minority government is going for vote for confidence. I think they will stage a walkout. If vote of confidence happens, it will be historic," he said.

RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui also said his party MLAs will ignore the Governor's speech. "To refute provocation by BJP and others, we have decided to ignore speech of Governor that will be prepared by the minority government," Siddiqui told ANI.

Siddiqui also said that his party leaders will sit quietly in the Assembly so that BJP does not get an opportunity to say that their party members indulged in "dhakkam-dhakka".

Meanwhile, security was intensified outside the Bihar Assembly ahead of the important session.

20 February, 7.59 am: Assembly session to begin at around 11 am

The Budget session of the Bihar Assembly in which Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi will be required to prove his majority will begin at around 11 am.

End of updates for 19 February

10.35 pm: Hours before floor test, Manjhi Cabinet clears 23 proposals

Even as the stage is set for the trust vote in Bihar on Friday, the Jitan Ram Manjhi Cabinet on Thursday met for the second consecutive day and cleared a slew of proposals, including the one for it to seek a floor test in the Assembly on Friday.

The meeting of the Cabinet was held at the embattled chief minister's residence on Thursday evening.

The Manjhi Cabinet also okayed a proposal for providing reservation to backward and most backward classes and women in the allotment of contracts of the Road Construction Department of up to Rs 25 lakh, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Coordination, B Pradhan, told reporters.

It also okayed the recruitment of Urdu teachers in all government universities where the subject is taught. It allowed a proposal for declaring Madhubani's famous 'Saurath Mela' (mass marriage fair) as a state event.

Altogether, 23 items pertaining to different departments were okayed during the Cabinet meet, Pradhan said. - PTI

7.40 pm: BJP announces support to Manjhi, says Speaker 

BJP Bihar chief Sushil Modi today announced that his party's MLAs will support Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi in the trust vote scheduled to be held tomorrow.

"JD(U) MLAs are being blackmailed... Nitish is creating turmoil in Bihar on directions of Lalu. The MLAs are furious because Nitish's growing proximity with Lalu Prasad," he said, adding that Nitish made Manjhi a puppet.

Modi further added that he had  no clue where his MLAs will be seated in the Assembly.

4.30 pm: Nitish Kumar replaces Sushil Modi as Oppn leader in Bihar Legislative Council

The Bihar Legislative Council has accorded recognition to JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar as Leader of Opposition in the House in place of BJP's Sushil Kumar Modi. Council Chairman Awdesh Narayan Singh confirmed the development.

4.02 pm: Patna HC bars 8 JD(U) MLAs from voting during floor test

In a setback for Manjhi, the Patna High Court barred eight JD(U) MLAs from voting in the upcoming floor test in the Assembly on Friday.

"The order of a HC double bench is likely to have a substantial effect on Manjhi's support during the floor test in the assembly," said an IBNLive report. Manjhi also plans to organise a show of strength of MLAs supporting him later in the evening, said the report.

3.51 pm: Manjhi to hold cabinet meeting in the evening

Bihar CM Manjhi will hold a cabinet meeting later in the evening.

While addressing the MahaDalit Samman Sammelan, Manjhi said, "Two months after becoming CM, I realised I was not doing anything for the society. I wanted to do something for the society. They didn't like this."

3.22 pm: Assembly Speaker working for Nitish, says BJP

BJP slammed Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary for recognising JD(U) as the main Opposition party, alleging that the Speaker was working under the directions of Nitish Kumar.

"The Speaker's office has become the JD(U) office," said BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain. "The JD(U) now occupies both the opposition and treasury benches. It seems Nitish's fate is to stay in opposition," he added.

"Without consulting the BJP, how did the Speaker recognise JD(U) as the main Opposition party? The Speaker is working under the directions of Nitish Kumar," Hussain said, adding that the BJP was strongly against the Opposition status given to the JD(U).

"People thought the JD(U) must have 130 seats. But it doesn't seem like they even have 30 MLAs," said Hussain.

Hussain also took a dig at the JD(U) for the allegations made against Pappu Yadav by a JD(U) MLA. "It will be decided on the floor of the House whether Nitish has the support of Lalu Prasad and Sharad Yadav. After all, Pappu Yadav is not a BJP leader. He is from RJD," Hussain said. "Pappu Yadav couldn't be bribing anyone without Lalu's permission."

The BJP leader also said that the BJP central leadership will decide in the evening on whether the party was going to support Manjhi during the floor test, adding that all BJP MLAs in Bihar wanted to back Manjhi. "BJP cannot accept the injustice upon the Mahadalit CM. The way Manjhi was insulted by Nitish Kumar is not right...BJP central leadership will decide on supporting Manjhi during the floor test later in the evening today," Hussain said. "All BJP MLAs however have said they will vote for Manjhi after looking at ground realities."

2.51 pm: Pappu Yadav denies allegations of horse-trading

RJD MP Pappu Yadav denied the horse-trading allegations made against him by JD(U) leader Mohammed Sharfuddin. "The voice on the tape is not mine. It's not even my phone number. I will take legal action," Pappu Yadav told ANI.

2.38 pm: BJP MLAs will vote for Manjhi during floor test, says former Leader of Opposition

BJP leader and former Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav confirmed that the BJP MLAs in the Assembly will support Manjhi during the floor test. He also told ANI that the BJP central leadership had been informed about this decision.

"This is for the first time in the country that a party - JD(U) - will sit in both treasury and opposition sides," Yadav said after JD(U) was given the main Opposition party status.

12.53 pm: JD(U) accuses RJD MP Pappu Yadav of horse-trading

JD(U) accused RJD MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav of indulging in horse-trading and released a footage of the phone call received by a JD(U) MLA in which Pappu Yadav allegedly offered him the "highest post" in the Assembly.

"Yesterday, at around 3 am, I got a call from Pappu Yadav. He told me that I will get the highest post and a lot of money for opposing Nitish Kumar. But the highest post is honesty. We are with Nitishji's honesty and his agenda for development. We would've never thought politics would come down to this," said JD(U) MLA Mohammed Sarfuddin.

"The Manjhi government has fallen into minority, hence it is trying to buy our MLAs to survive the floor test. It has stopped thinking about ethics, morality and laws that prohibit horse-trading of legislators," said JD(U) state Vashistha Narayan Singh

12.24 pm: Bihar Speaker recognises JD(U) as main Opposition party

The Bihar Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary notified Vijay Chaudhary of JD(U) as the Leader of Opposition, replacing BJP's Nand Kishore Yadav, according to TV reports. Through this move, the Speaker accepted Nitish's demand of giving JD(U) the status of the principal Opposition party.

"Assembly Secretariat has to act according to numerical strength and since JD(U) had sought the status of main opposition, we had no reason to deny them this considering their numbers," Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary told PTI.

On the other hand, responding to a question on whether he asked BJP for support, Manjhi said, "I did not ask for support from any party in Bihar. I only sought support from MLAs."

BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh also commented on the political crisis in Bihar, saying Nitish Kumar was responsible for the crisis. "We need to wait for the next 24 hours to see what will happen. However, what is happening now in Bihar is an outcome of the greed of Nitish Kumar. First, he resigned. Then, he wanted Manjhi to be a puppet. Manjhi didn't like this, after which Nitish asked Manjhi to resign," he said.

11.55 am: BJP MLAs protest against Bihar Speaker, demand his resignation

BJP MLAs are protesting at the Bihar Legislative Assembly against the Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary for allegedly being biased towards the JD(U). The protesters also demanded the Speaker's resignation. Police have been called to maintain law and order at the Assembly.

"Loktantra ka hatya kiya (Democracy was murdered)," one of the protesters told Times Now.

Earlier, JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said, "BJP is trying to create division within the JD(U). They are breaking Mamata Banerjee's party. Similarly, they are also trying to break our party."

9.58 am: BJP central leadership to decide on support to Manjhi today

BJP leader GVL Narasimha Rao said the central leadership of the BJP would decide whether the party should support Manjhi in the upcoming trust vote or not. "BJP's central leadership will study the entire situation and will give a final decision today. BJP, with central leadership on board, will take a call on this issue very soon," said Rao.

On the other hand, JD(U) said that BJP should have courage and come out in the open to support Manjhi. "We expect BJP to have some courage, come out in the open and support Manjhi," said JD(U) leader Ajay Alok. "When was BJP not supporting Manjhi? We have been saying from 7th February that BJP is going to extend its support to him. They have been fully exposed. There was a time when BJP was abusing Manjhi. And now, they want to support him," Alok told ANI.

9.29 am: Nitish apologises for quitting as Bihar CM

In a move similar to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal apologising to the people of Delhi for resigning as CM in 2014, former Bihar CM Nitish Kumar apologised for resigning from his post after the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.

"The way things began to slide after Manjhi took over was certainly a cause of alarm. I kept ignoring, hoping he will mend himself. The people must be blaming me for imposing a CM who was doing everything to tarnish Bihar's image. On hindsight, I think I committed a mistake by resigning. I will not shy away from seeking a public apology for this. I think I committed a mistake and I should admit it to the people. At the same time, I have learnt a lesson. In future, I will not prematurely tender my resignation," said Nitish, according to Economic Times.

However, this strategy might not work for Nitish the way it did for Kejriwal. Here's why.

19 February, 9.13 am: BJP MLAs say they will back Manjhi a day before trust vote

BJP chief spokesman Binod Narayan Jha said the majority view of the MLAs was that the party should stand with Manjhi during the trust vote. BJP's 87 MLAs support is crucial for Manjhi to have any chance of survival.

The view of the BJP Legislature Party meeting on Wednesday was that the party should vote for Manjhi during the confidence vote came as a boost.

"Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi would be able to sail through the political crisis. And, BJP would would emerge on top in the coming Assembly elections in Bihar and UP," said BJP MP Murli Manohar Joshi. - PTI

End of updates for 18 February

10.00 pm: Governor says no constitutional crisis in Bihar despite Manjhi-Nitish war

Holding that there is no constitutional crisis in Bihar, Governor KN Tripathi said the law is very clear about the confidence vote scheduled on 20 February.

"Where is the constitutional crisis? Law is very clear on that point. Majority is to be decided on the floor of the House and Feb 20 is the date to decide on majority. One may lose, one may gain," Tripathi, the acting Governor for Bihar told reporters on the sidelines of a program in Kolkata.

9.27 pm: Now, Congress MLAs reiterate support to Nitish

Bihar Congress on Wednesday said while it supported Nitish Kumar, the decision to join the new Bihar government under him if formed after the 20 February trust vote would be taken by the party high command.

"Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's government is already in minority. It has already fallen down. Our legislators are united and strongly with Nitish Kumar and JD(U)," CLP leader Sadanand Singh said.

"As far as the participation of our party in the new government is concerned, our high command will take a decision regarding it," he told reporters at his official residence in Patna.

All five MLAs and four MLCs of the party, including Bihar PCC president Ashok Chaudhary were present on the occasion.

He alleged that BJP was trying to sow doubts about the unity in Congress and create a rift among its legislators.

7.42 pm: BJP MLAs reach consensus to support Manjhi?

According to latest TV reports, after much speculation, a majority of Bihar BJP MLAs have reached a consensus to support Chief Minister Manjhi during the 20 February floor test. They are likely to take a final decision on Thursday.

As we had earlier commented, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's closeness to the BJP, comes as no surprise. To most political analysts, the Manjhi-Nitish break up, was always expected as the relationship was based on compulsion and not choice.

4.09 pm: Parties to hold dinners for their legislators for unity ahead of floor test

JD(U), BJP and RJD are hosting dinners for their legislators to keep them together and ensure that they do not go against the party wishes during the floor test on 20 February.

"The aim of these dinners and lunches is to foster unity among the legislators before Manjhi takes the majority test on the floor of the Assembly," a senior JD(U) leader said.

The dinner diplomacy was kick-started on Tuesday evening with a feast thrown by JD(U) MLC Vinod Singh at the house of former minister Gautam Singh. Both are considered close to Nitish.

The BJP, which has convened its two-day legislature party meet beginning today, is also organising feasts for its MLAs and MLCs. The meet will deliberate over the issue of support to Manjhi during his floor test.

The grand finale of dinner diplomacy will be the dinner hosted by Nitish Kumar at his official residence on Thursday evening expected to be attended by all legislators belonging to JD (U), RJD, Congress and CPI. - PTI

4.04 pm: All-party meet ends inconclusively, BJP stages walkout

Unable to decide whether JD(U) or BJP would sit in the opposition gallery during Bihar confidence vote on 20 February, the all-party meet left the decision on Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary amid walkout by BJP.

JD(U) Legislature party leader in the Assembly Vijay Chaudhary made a fervent appeal to the Speaker to accord his party the status of opposition party and recognise him as the Leader of Opposition during the confidence vote.

"We have claimed the opposition seat on the basis of our number and argument that since we have to oppose the trust vote we should be given opposition status on the day," Nitish told reporters.

However, current Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Nand Kishore Yadav countered JD(U)'s argument by saying that confidence vote is for the Cabinet and except for Manjhi, other ministers, despite being suspended, remained a member of JD(U).

"How can JD(U) sit in both treasury and opposition sides?" Yadav told reporters. Before walking out of the meeting, the BJP leader accused the Speaker of adopting a "partisan" approach and "running Assembly secretariat as JD(U) party office." - PTI

3.48 pm: Patna High Court lifts ban on Manjhi taking financial decisions

According to TV reports, Patna High Court lifted its stay on the Manjhi government taking financial decisions, following whichh the current Bihar government can take any policy decisions. However, the government will be able to implement those decisions only after 21 February, according to NDTV.

11.02 am: Bihar Speaker calls for all-party meeting, JD(U) demands leading Opposition party status

An all-party meeting called by the Speaker is currently underway in the Bihar Assembly to review the political situation and consider Nitish's demand that the JD(U) should not be the leading Opposition party in the Assembly, according to reports.

JD(U) made this demand as it claimed that none of the ministers supporting the government were now from the JD(U), said TV reports. Since Chief Minister Manjhi and seven other ministers had been sacked from JD(U), the Nitish camp said that JD(U) should be the principal Opposition party in the Assembly.

On the other hand, BJP opposed this move and claimed that the goverment is still a JD(U) government, according to Times Now.

18 February, 9.08 am: Nitish suspended ministers after his horse-trading efforts failed, says BJP

Taking a dig at Nitish for suspending seven JD(U) ministers in Bihar, BJP said the action was taken after efforts failed to "buy them" ahead of the trust vote.

BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said JD-U will go into history as the first party in the country to sack its own Chief Minister, its ministers and its MLAs. It has so far expelled or suspended 16 legislators, including ministers and the Chief Minister, he said.

"The question is why were they not ousted along with the chief minister? Action was taken against them now as efforts made to buy them failed. Nitish Kumar was horse-trading with them and when it did not work, he suspended them. Nitish Kumar is frustrated and dejected," Hussain said. - PTI

End of updates for 17 February

9.24 pm: JD(U) suspends seven ministers for backing Manjhi

Seven ministers were suspended by the JD(U) ahead of the 20 February trust vote for owing allegiance to Manjhi. The seven ministers were suspended by state JD(U) President Basistha Narayan Singh after receiving consent from the party's National President Sharad Yadav, party chief whip in the Assembly Shrawan Kumar told PTI.

Jitan Ram Manjhi (left) and Nitish Kumar. PTI

Jitan Ram Manjhi (left) and Nitish Kumar. PTI

The seven suspended ministers are Narendra Singh, Brishen Patel, Shahid Ali Khan, Samrat Chaudhary, Nitish Mishra, Mahachandra Prasad Singh and Bhim Singh.

Meanwhile, Manjhi, on return from Delhi, after a two-day visit headed straight to his residence and was closeted with supporters to draw up the strategy for the 20 February confidence vote.

4.11 pm: Nitish slams BJP, Bihar Governor for time given to Manjhi to prove his majority

Blaming BJP for the "chaos" in Bihar by propping up Manjhi against him, Nitish trashed the saffron party for justifying the 14-day time given to Manjhi to seek a vote of confidence.

"Manjhi has been expelled by JD(U) for refusing to vacate the chair of Chief Minister and the party is reclaiming the post on the basis of its majority. Though BJP is clandestinely supporting Manjhi, still he does not have the numbers," he said.

He also criticised the Governor for giving Manjhi 14 days to prove his majority. "The writing is clearly on the wall that 130 MLAs of JD(U), RJD, Congress, one CPI and an Independent are with us. In such a condition, giving 14-day time to Manjhi by the Governor for floor test cannot be justified from any angle," he said. - PTI

12.06 pm: BJP not keen on supporting Manjhi during floor test

The BJP is not keen on supporting Manjhi during the floor test in the Bihar Assembly on 20 February, according to reports.

The saffron party, which has criticised Nitish Kumar for the political instability in Bihar since he was elected the JD(U) Legislative Party leader, would support Manjhi only if he was able to gather enough supporters from within the JD(U) to win the trust vote with BJP's support, according to Indian Express.

"Accordingly, the BJP may use the House discussion for attacking Nitish and stage a walk-out before the vote is taken. On his part, Manjhi too may have his say, paint himself as a Mahadalit messiah," said the report.

Another report in The Times of India said that even the Manjhi camp was not confident about winning the trust vote as Minority Welfare minister and Manjhi camp's Muslim face Shahid Ali Khan said the the trust vote outcome depended entirely on the will of God, which was seen as a sign of nervousness about the floor test.

17 February, 9.37 am: BJP, Manjhi skip all-party meeting in Bihar

Manjhi on Monday failed to attend the all-party meeting called by Assembly Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary while the opposition Bhartiya Janata Party boycotted it.

The all-party meeting was called to discuss the political crisis in the state and to look into the demand of the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) that they be recognised as the main Opposition in the Assembly.

Manjhi did not attend as he was in New Delhi while Bharatiya Janata Party legislators boycotted it to express their displeasure over any such move till Manjhi's vote of confidence on the floor of the state assembly. - IANS

End of updates for 16 February

8.39 pm: Nitish Kumar praises Shiv Sena for its remarks on the Bihar political crisis

"Shiv Sena has spoken the truth about things going on in Bihar on the patronage of BJP leadership," Nitish told PTI.

"It's not only Shiv Sena. Trinamool Congress, BSP and others have also come out in open to flay BJP for triggering disturbance in Bihar to prepare ground for President rule," Nitish said.

"Shiv Sena which sided with BJP when nobody wanted to stand with them is being isolated by the present leadership of the saffron party," Kumar, who served as minister in NDA rule of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, said.

"Shiv Sena was victimised by BJP before forming government with them in Maharashtra," he said, adding that the saffron party, in its new avatar, was "playing foul" against time tested allies crushing the model of coalition government presented by its veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee. - PTI

8.12 pm: Nitish camp trying to frighten MLAs by spreading false rumours about President's Rule in Bihar, says Manjhi

Manjhi alleged that Nitish's camp was trying to "frighten MLAs" by spreading rumours that he was "conspiring" with BJP to have President's Rule imposed in Bihar and accused his rival of parading "bogus" MLAs.

"They are frightening MLAs with rumour that I am working for imposing the President's Rule in Bihar. It's completely untrue. If I had wished so, I would have recommended it long back. I will win trust vote on 20 February," he told PTI.

7.52 pm: BJP secretly helping Manjhi, alleges Nitish

Accusing BJP of "clandestinely" helping Manjhi to trigger chaos in Bihar, Nitish Kumar asked the saffron party to come out in open support of Manjhi.

He alleged that it was BJP's "game plan" to trigger chaos in Bihar by propping up a minority government of dissidents led by Manjhi. He further alleged that BJP was trying to engineer violence during trust vote on 20 February to prepare ground for imposition of President'S rule.

Nitish said the party "acted on time" (decision to remove Manjhi) as after two-three months they could have been rendered with no option but to "rue the devastation".

He admitted time and again he has faced "problems" from people close to him, but said he should not be blamed for it.

"Dosh bharosha karne wala ka nahi hai balki bharosa ke sath vishwaghat karne wale ka hai (It is not the fault of a person who reposes faith in somebody, but of the person who betrays with the faith)," he said. "Such things happened with him so many times and I know this one (from Manjhi) is not the last, and more such event will happen in future too," Kumar alleged. - PTI

4.03 pm: Patna HC stays financial decisions taken by Manjhi govt in last 3 cabinet meets

In a setback for Jitan Ram Manjhi, the Patna High Court stayed the financial decisions taken by the Manjhi government in the last three cabinet meets and banned the state government from taking any more financial decisions till it proves its majority on the floor of the House, according to reports.

"The government can take decisions only after proving majority on floor of the house," the court order reportedly said.

The direction was given by a division bench comprising Justice Iqbal Ahmad Ansari and Justice Samrendra Pratap Singh.

"Respondents should not take any decision having financial implications except for routine matter," the bench ordered on a PIL filed by JD(U) legislator Niraj Kumar.

The court fixed 19 February as the next date of hearing, reported PTI.

"This is no setback for Manjhi. The Patna High Court took this decision so that there will be no financial effect till majority is proven," BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told ANI.

3.27 pm: JD(U) wants to remove BJP and be in Opposition too, says Sushil Modi

BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi, in a press conference, criticised the JD(U) and Nitish Kumar for creating a "funny situation" in Bihar. "This is a funny situation. JD(U) is in power and now, they want to remove BJP and be in the Opposition too," said Modi.

The BJP leader also said that Nitish Kumar made three mistakes. "The first mistake was the JD(U)-BJP split, the second was allying with Lalu Prasad Yadav and Congress and the third was resigning as CM," he said. "Governance had become the biggest casualty in Bihar post the JDU-BJP split."

"For the last 20 months, there is a political-drama in Bihar, as a result of which Bihar has been pushed back by 20 years," said Sushil Modi, according to ANI.

2.46 pm: Manjhi may quit before Bihar Assembly trust vote

Firstpost has learnt that after the debate on the trust vote, Manjhi may choose to announce his resignation on the floor of the House without actually seeking a vote on his motion. But before he does that, he is expected to give an impassioned speech where he will basically target Nitish Kumar, and how he intended to keep him (Manjhi) as a puppet.

Manjhi might quit before the floor test on 20 February. IBNLive

Manjhi might quit before the floor test on 20 February. IBNLive

Sources told Firstpost that the BJP, which has 87 members in the assembly, has decided to take a hands-off approach on the trust vote, which, it says, is the result of an internal power struggle within Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). This means the trust vote will not see any high-wire act or tensions.

Manjhi has been in Delhi since Sunday. Tonight (16 February) he has to attend a Presidential banquet hosted in honour of the visiting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena. The Bihar CM is an invitee because Sirisena plans to visit the Buddhist pilgrimage site of Bodh Gaya on 17 February. Manjhi, on his part, used the opportunity to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh, among others, and gave a host of interviews to the national media.

16 February, 1.03 pm: Shiv Sena criticises BJP for backing Manjhi

Shiv Sena taunted ally BJP over the issue of supporting Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, saying that backing him would be a "sin" as it would be an endorsement of "black era in politics".

"Nobody should indulge in this sin of backing someone, who has publicly said he accepts commission, for political interest," an editorial in Sena mouthpiece Saamana said.

"Nitish Kumar has the backing of 130 legislators and yet he (Manjhi) is trying to get BJP support. BJP is pitting Manjhi against Nitish Kumar," it said. - PTI

End of updates for 15 February

15 February, 2.23 pm: Modi has no role in Bihar crisis, says Venkaiah Naidu

"Janata Dal(U)—the name is 'united' but, as usual, they are divided. There is already a 'war' going on in Janata Parivar. They are divided and not united. The Centre has no role in that," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Naidu told reporters. "I would like to make it very clear. Modiji has no role at all. But, Nitish is blaming Modi and the Centre for their (JD-U's) failures," he said.

"Who asked you (Nitish) to resign from the Chief Minister's post and who asked you to make Jitan Ram Manjhi the Bihar Chief Minister, and why are you (Nitish) asking him (Manjhi) to resign now? They want to blame Modiji and the Centre. They should stop the disinformation campaign," Naidu said.

"You (Nitish) wanted to play a drama for some time and you boasted that you wanted to make a Dalit (Manjhi) the chief minister. Now you want to remove a Dalit as the CM and you want to blame Modi. It is (all due to) your internal problems and your internal squabbles," Naidu alleged, adding that "this infighting started in JD(U) and they became divided and wanted to replace Manjhi." - PTI

End of updates for 13 February

9.15 pm: Manjhi announces sops for farmers

Manjhi announced free electricity to small farmers owning up to five acres of land for agriculture purposes and promised to double the cap if he gets a chance to continue in office.

"If I get another chance, free electricity to farmers for farm purposes would be doubled for up to 10 acres," he said. For his SC/ST communities, his core support base, Manjhi promised to enhance subsidy for them for the purchase of farm equipment to 80 percent from about 60 percent at present. - PTI

2.38 pm: Nitish made a mistake by thinking I'll be a puppet, says Manjhi

"I have spent 34 year in politics and worked on different posts as minister and legislator...he (Nitish) committed a great mistake in assuming that I'll act like his puppet," Manjhi said.

Manjhi said it was Nitish who indulging in horse-trading. IBNLive

Manjhi said it was Nitish who indulging in horse-trading. IBNLive

"It is true that after becoming CM in May last year for 1-2 months, I used to act on whatever instruction that came from there (Nitish Kumar) on which people started calling me a rubber stamp CM and being run by remote by Kumar...It is true that after becoming CM in May last year for 1-2 months, I used to act on whatever instruction that came from there (Nitish Kumar) on which people started calling me a rubber stamp CM and being run by remote by Kumar."

On the upcoming floor test in the Bihar Assembly, Manjhi said, "I will enter the ring as a 'pahalwan' (wrestler) without bothering how strong is the opponent and whether I will win or lose."

"I'll make an emotional speech to the legislators that I stand for welfare of the poor and downtrodden of the society. If you agree with me, then come along and if I do not get adequate response, I'll quit the CM post," Manjhi said.

Asked if he was banking on BJP support, Manjhi said "I am standing alone and shall appeal to the legislators of all parties to accept my humble appeal to continue working for the poor and downtrodden."

On Nitish's allegations of horse-trading, he said, "they (Nitish group) are actually indulging in horse trading by taking MLAs to Delhi and keeping them in posh hotels...about Rs 1 lakh was spent on each MLA in this journey." - PTI

13 February, 12.47 pm: JD(U) asks party legislators supporting Manjhi to either quit his govt or face action

In a terse message to the seven ruling party legislators who have sided with Manjhi and continued to remain ministers in his government, the JD(U) asked them to quit immediately and return to the party-fold.

"We direct all of you to immediately sever ties with Manjhi and resign as ministers in his government otherwise the party will crack whips against you all," state unit JD(U) president Bashistha Narayan Singh reportedly told the party leaders.

"If they fail to comply, action will be taken against all of them," he added. - PTI

End of updates for 12 February

5.58 pm: BJP reacts to Nitish's allegations

After Nitish Kumar's allegations that BJP and its leaders are the reasons behind the crisis in Bihar, the party called an emergency press conference and condemned the allegations.

BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad speaking to the media said, "Nitish ji has imposed baseless and untrue allegations on BJP, we condemn his statement. We did not expect a person of Nitish Kumar's stature to stoop to this level but if he has alleged then he should provide proof. This is a desperate Nitish who yet has to come to terms with his conclusive defeat in Bihar."

"Nitish ji was running government in Bihar through Jitan ji, when Jitan ji removed people close to Nitish ji,he got worried," Prasad added.

Earlier, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain termed the decision of Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi to allow Manjhi to prove his majority on 20 February right.

"Nitish Kumar is indulging in dirty politics by pointing fingers at a constitutional authority. He is in the habit of criticising everybody. It seems he is too eager and is in a hurry to get power. The governor has taken the right decision to invite Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to prove his majority as convening of the assembly session was notified earlier. There cannot be separate session for Nitish Kumar to fulfil his aspirations for attaining power," Hussain told PTI.

4.57 pm: BJP is involved in everything, says Nitish Kumar

In an exclusive interview to Times Now, former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar alleged BJP is behind the Bihar crisis. The senior JD(U) leader said, "JD(U) MLAs are being offered Rs 1 crore and ministership. BJP is involved in everything."

Alleging that Delhi's mood is India's mood, Nitish said the current central government is all talk and no work. "BJP has become arrogant. Delhi gave a befitting reply to their arrogance. Bihar too will do the same. BJP has not learned from its Delhi defeat."

Nitish Kumar said that the "drama" in Bihar began after CM Jitan Ram Manjhi met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.

"BJP somehow wants to impose President's rule in Bihar. I am not alleging anything, these are facts and they know it. I, Lalu Prasad, Sharad Yadav -- we all tried to explain Jitan Ram Manjhi. We know what is happening covertly. Bihar Governor is encouraging horse-trading. When the Bihar Governor will read his address in the state Budget session,what kind of government will he represent," said Nitish Kumar.

Adding that BJP is playing caste-card in Bihar, Nitish Kumar said that only work pays off in long term. "BJP's popularity is short-lived."

2.15 pm: Supporters of Nitish Kumar challenge Patna HC order

Supporters of Nitish Kumar filed a petition in the Patna High Court challenging the stay on his election as the new leader of the JD(U) legislature party.

Former minister PK Shahi has filed a petition challenging the stay and requested it be withdrawn. "The court will hear my petition Thursday evening (after 4 pm)," Shahi, who is considered close to Nitish Kumar, said. - IANS

10.21 am: BJP, Centre gave license for horse-trading, dirty politics in Bihar

Nitish Kumar alleged that BJP and the Centre had created a script for dirty politics in Bihar and had given a license for horse-trading in the state.

"The script and license for horse-trading came from the Centre here in Delhi," said Nitish. "The Governor was earlier convinced that before the Budget session, there should be a floor test in the House. Soon after that though, he delayed his decision," said Nitish, adding that BJP was responsible for changing the Governor's firm stand.

Nitish Kumar alleged Centre had given license for horse-trading in Bihar. PTI

Nitish Kumar alleged Centre had given license for horse-trading in Bihar. PTI

"When regular sessions in the Bihar Assembly begin, the Governor's address is the first thing that happens. Which government will the Governor address then? He needs to decide that," Nitish said, adding that this issue was exactly why the Governor needed to hold a special session before regular sessions began in the House.

"The Bihar Vidhan Sabha has five parties. Four of these parties are together. Members from these parties met the Governor. The one party left out is the BJP," said Nitish. He said that the Governor allowing a minority government to function despite four parties being against the government was wrong. "Till now, even the BJP has not given support to the government."

"BJP in Bihar has been given a license for horse-trading from the Centre," Nitish said. "BJP stands exposed today. It is strangling democracy," he said.

"Bihar politics is being polluted. A script for President's rule is being made here," said the former Bihar Chief Minister. He said the rules of the Bihar Vidhan Sabha were being broken because Manjhi had the support of only 12 MLAs.

Nitish also said that BJP would lose the Bihar polls later this year. "BJP in Bihar will be reduced to the same pathetic condition they are facing in Delhi now," he said.

9.36 am: Bihar Governor a puppet in the hands of BJP, says JD(U)

JD(U) leader Pavan Varma slammed the Bihar Governor, saying he had no doubt that the governor was a puppet in the hands of the BJP.

Speaking to Times Now, Varma said, "Our worst apprehensions have come true. It is not my place to doubt the intentions of the Governor. But the impact of the decisions is exactly what we have predicted: horse-trading, unethical use of money and the attempt to break parties."

"Our apprehension is that it is going to be a murky picture in Bihar. Manjhi has only 12 MLAs supporting him. His real supporter is the BJP...The actor behind this whole drama is the BJP. Manjhi is the puppet," Varma said.

"We are seeing a mockery of democracy," said the JD(U) leader.

Responding to a question about whether Varma felt the Governor was a puppet in the hands of the BJP, he said, "To my mind, there is no doubt about it. He is a puppet. BJP might be trying to play cloak and dagger but their plan is obvious."

"All kinds of offers are coming to our MLAs. They are not accepting the offers but it shows us that our apprehensions were true," Varma said.

8.52 am: Rahul Gandhi meets Bihar Congress leaders

With Congress keeping a close watch on developments in Bihar, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday held deliberations with all its five party MLAs.

Rahul Gandhi asked the party leaders about the strategy to be adopted by Congress in Bihar for the Assembly elections to be held in the year-end.

The Congress vice president also took the suggestions on how to strengthen the party base in the Hindi-state where it is out of power on its own for last three decades. Gandhi talked at length on his pet subject of empowering the grassroots in the party structure and giving more power to district and block presidents.

12 February, 8.14 am: Manjhi asked by Governor to prove majority on 20 Feb

Bihar Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi asked Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to prove his majority on the floor of the House on 20 February.

"Immediately after Governor's address of the joint session of Bihar Legislature on the opening day of Budget session on February 20, Manjhi will have to prove majority in the Legislative Assembly," highly places sources in Raj Bhavan said.

There was, however, no information whether the Governor has accepted Manjhi's request for secret ballot or not, they said. - PTI

End of updates for 11 February

7.53 pm: Nitish Kumar urges President Mukherjee to intervene in matter as soon as possible

Senior leader of JD(U) Nitish Kumar along with party chief Sharad Yadav, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav met with President Pranab Mukherjee and spoke to him about the situation in Bihar.

Pro-Nitish JD(U) legislators were paraded infront of Pranab Mukherjee as a show of support.

Later speaking with the media, Nitish Kumar said:

"Formation of government in the state should not be delayed further. We want to be fair to everybody, so give the current government a chance to prove majority. If they can prove it in the House let them form a government. We told Mr President that we enjoy a majority in Bihar. The process should be fast tracked. Deliberate delay is causing loss and government isn't able to work."

When asked about BJP's allegations, the senior JD(U) leader said that BJP is making a joke of democracy. Nitish alleged that BJP's gameplan is to induce unrest in Bihar and eventually get President's rule imposed in the state. "BJP is worried. Till yesterday they blamed me for everything. They wanted to created confusion and problem in Bihar. But now they are alienated. They have been cornered in Delhi and it has showed them their real place."

"We told him not to wait till budget session; in budget session the budget should be put forth by the ruling govt at that time. We want no deliberate delay in the matter. President has assured us that he will look into the matter," said Nitish Kumar.

Even Lalu Prasad spoke with the media.

6.43 pm: Mulayam Singh Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Sharad Yadav and other pro-Nitish MLAs leave to meet Pranab Mukherjee

According to latest reports, Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav along with JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar and JD(U) legislators who are pro-Nitish for the Chief Minister-post in Bihar left for Rashtrapati Bhavan to meet President Pranab Mukherjee.

5.33 pm: MLAs meet Sharad Yadav with Nitish Kumar, to meet President soon

Nitish Kumar, by 6.30 pm, will ferry his 130 MLAs to Rashtrapati Bhavan where the legislators will be paraded in show of strength in front of President Pranab Mukherjee.

According to latest reports, Nitish Kumar, along with his MLAs, met with JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav, before they start for Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Meanwhile, the top BJP leaders were quoted by this NDTV report as saying that they will not be directly involving themselves in the Bihar logjam. The BJP will watch the crisis created in Bihar by a political tussle in the Janata Dal United from the sidelines, the party's top leadership has decided, NDTV quoted sources as saying.

5.18 pm: JD(U) MLAs kept in captivity, alleges Ram Vilas Paswan

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan alleged that JD(U) MLAs have been "kept in captivity"" in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, which is under Samajwadi Party's rule, and asked Manjhi to ensure that the MLAs are "freed" so that they can vote freely during a trust vote in the state Assembly, reported PTI.

Paswan also drew a parallel of the current situation with that of February 2005, when his Lok Janshakti Party MLAs were taken to Jharkhand to help JD(U) form government in the state.

"JD(U) had then engaged in horse-trading of LJP MLAs. This time they are alleging that somebody else is trying to do that. The fact is that MLAs of JD(U) are divided and hence they have been bundled together to Delhi to prevent a split," Paswan was quoted as saying by PTI.

"Parading the MLAs before the President is an excuse. All this exercise is to prevent that the MLAs opposed to Nitish Kumar do not leave him and support Manjhi. What is wrong if Manjhi is ready to prove his majority in the House on February 20? The Governor should ask Manjhi to prove his suppport," he said.

4.56 pm: Pappu Yadav comes out in support of Manjhi

In a fresh twist to the political logjam in Bihar, RJD MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav on Wednesday came out in support of Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and asked his party chief Lalu Prasad to reconsider the decision to remove him.

Soon after the Patna HC stayed Nitish Kumar's recognition as the leader of JD(U) in place of Chief Minister Manjhi, Yadav said it has become clear that the meeting called by JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav to elect Kumar as LP leader was "illegal and unconstitutional".

"If we want to fight communalism, we cannot do it after weakening the ideology of social justice. There is a need to project a hero of common man in Bihar. At present, Manjhi (a Mahadalit) should be allowed to remain Chief Minister. He was doing a lot for the Dalits and minorities. I request Laluji to reconsider his decision supporting Manjhi's replacement with Kumar," Yadav told PTI.

Meanwhile, according to Headlines Today, Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav will accompany Nitish Kumar to see the President when the former CM meets Pranab with his 130 MLAs later today in the evening.

4.14 pm: 130 JD(U) legislators enroute to meet President Pranab Mukherjee

Around 130 JD(U) legislators are on their way to meet President Pranab Mukherjee to announce their support to Nitish Kumar, media reports said.

Nitish Kumar, who will present over 130 MLAs before the President on Wednesday evening to show that he enjoys majority support in the Bihar assembly, earlier had accused the Modi government of encouraging "horse-trading" of MLAs in the state and alleged collusion by the Governor.

3.42 pm: Nitish Kumar should wait for Governor's decision, says BJP

BJP reacted positively to the High Court order and said that Nitish Kumar should wait for the Governor's decision.

"BJP hopes that Nitish Kumar trusts constitutional institutions. He should wait for the Governor's decision," said BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain. "In his hurry to become the CM, he is making several claims. Nitish Kumar has said leaving the CM post was a mistake. But his biggest mistake was that he didn't realise that the people voted for his alliance with the BJP and against Lalu Prasad Yadav."

"Nitish Kumar was PM-in waiting. These days, he has become CM-in waiting," said Hussain.

2.56 pm: Rajnath Singh holds consultations on Bihar crisis

Home Minister Rajnath Singh held consultations with the attorney general over Nitish Kumar's demand for a special session in the Bihar Legislative Assembly, according to TV reports.

2.43 pm: Manjhi taking legal measures to prolong govt, promote horse-trading, says JD(U)

JD(U) reacted to the Patna High Court order and said that Jitan Ram Manjhi was taking legal measures to prolong his government and promote horse-trading.

Ajay Alok of the JD(U) said, "With all due respect to the Patna High Court, what we are demanding is completely different."

Jitan Ram Manjhi has asked for secret ballot voting for floor test in the House. IBNLive

Jitan Ram Manjhi has asked for secret ballot voting for floor test in the House. IBNLive

Alok said that instead of focussing on the leadership of Nitish, the party had gone to the governor because majority of the members of the Bihar Legislative Assembly had lost faith in the Manjhi government. "All the 130 MLAs supporting Nitish Kumar have lost faith in the governance of Manjhi, which is why we have gone to the Governor and the President to call for a special session of the House," said Alok.

"Manjhi, who is a minority CM, has the support of only 30 members of the House," he said. "Manjhi is taking legal and constitutional measures to prolong his government and promote horse-trading. He is giving out money to distribute cabinet positions."

"Where does the question of Nitish's leadership come?" Alok said, adding that the real issue was that Manjhi's government did not have majority in the House.

1.54 pm: Patna High Court declares Nitish's appointment as JD(U) Legislative Party head illegal

The Patna High Court declared the appointment of Nitish Kumar as the head of the JD(U) legislative party head illegal, according to reports. The PIL against the appointment had been reportedly filed by Rajeshwar Raj, one of Manjhi's supporters.

The High Court termed the Speaker nominating Nitish Kumar as the JD(U) legislative party head as illegal. "The court said that JD(U) had virtually replaced the Chief Minister without proper procedure," said Raj's lawyer. The court also said that only the governor can now decide on the issue, according to Times Now.

This court order comes after Nitish Kumar said that the Governor's delay on any decision gives encouragement to horse-trading.

"We will go to the President and tell him that the Governor's delay on resolving this crisis is encouraging horse-trading," Nitish Kumar told Times Now. "Allowing this kind of government to continue to function in Bihar is against parliamentary norms."

"Impossible things are happening in the government," he said. "The intention, clearly, is to not let a majority government be formed."

Reacting to Nitish's statements, BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain said, "The majority is only decided in the House...The governor has not decided anything and Nitish Kumar is already reaching out to the President."

"Why doesn't he trust the Governor? Whether the majority is with Nitish Kumar or with Jitan Ram Manjhi will be decided within the Vidhan Sabha. I have never seen this kind of desperation for power in anyone," said Hussain.

11 February, 10.38 am: Nitish Kumar to meet President to prove majority

Nitish Kumar will meet President Pranab Mukherjee along with 130 supporting MLAs to show his majority and ask for the President's support to form a new government in Bihar.

Nitish Kumar will meet President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

Nitish Kumar will meet President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

Nitish and his MLAs arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday night in two commercial flights. This move by the former Bihar CM comes after he questioned the "delay" by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi in defusing the political crisis in the state.

"It is more than 24 hours and no decision has come from the Bihar Governor in regard to our claim to form the government. The majority is in our favour and we will inform the President of India about it. We will take our MLAs to him around 2.15 pm tomorrow," Nitish had told reporters at Patna airport.

"We took the entire bunch of 130 supporting MLAs to Raj Bhavan, gave letters of support from all of them on February 8. Then what is there to study... There is no rationale in delaying the decision to invite me to form a government," he had added.

End of updates for 9 February

3.44 pm: Not running away from floor test, says Manjhi

Jitan Ram Manjhi said that he was not running away from proving majority in the House after he met the Bihar Governor. However, Manjhi also said that he told the Governor that he wanted to take the floor test on 19 or 20 February.

"Election of Nitish Kumar as legislative party leader is illegal," Manjhi said. "I explained the everything to the Governor. He said he will take the appropriate decision."

"My demand for proving majority is voting by secret ballot," he said. "All MLAs should be present in the House at that time and one representative from each should be present," he added.

"Mujhe Sazish ka shikar banaya ja raha hai (People are trying to make a scapegoat out of me)," said Manjhi.

2.51 pm: BJP responsible for JD(U) breaking up, says Nitish after meeting Governor

Nitish Kumar also slammed the BJP saying that the BJP was responsible for the breaking up of the JD(U).

"All of what is happening is on the directions of the BJP. They are trying to break the JD(U) and harm allies of the party," Nitish claimed.

"We have come together to fight the kind of politics that is taking place in the country that is against democracy," Nitish said.

2.45 pm: Confident that governor will take decision on govt formation soon, says Nitish

Nitish Kumar, after meeting Bihar governor said that the JD(U), RJD, Congress and CPI combine has asked the governor to expedite the process of forming a new government.

"We told the governor that all MLAs are present here with us and are ready to testify support for JD(U) lead by me," Nitish Kumar said.

Nitish said, "We asked him to take action within 24-48 hours and we promised to prove majority in the Assembly."

Speaking of the upcoming budget, Nitish said, "Before the Budget session of the Assemly begins, we requested the governor to decide which government will call the session in Bihar."

He criticised Jitan Manjhi saying he was trying to create a negative atmosphere by alleging horse trading.

Nitish said, "We hope that the Governor will take decision on government formation soon."

2.37 pm: Sharad Yadav, Lalu, Nitish meet guv; stake claim to form govt

After meeting the Bihar governor, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav informed that he along with Nitish Kumar and RJD's Lalu Yadav met Bihar governor to stake claim for government. They said they asked the governor to act quickly on this matter.

In a press conference after the meet, Lalu Yadav said, "We have submitted a letter to the governor staking claim to form a new government with Nitish Kumar as the chief minister."

"The governor heard our plea, but also said that he will take a decision after he meets Jitan Manjhi who is also scheduled to meet him," Lalu said.

"Nitish Kumar has support from his party MLAs and also from RJD," said Lalu

2.20 pm: Nitish meets Bihar Governor

Nitish Kumar met Bihar Governor KN Tripathi after staging a march to his house along with 130 MLAs. According to PTI, Manjhi will meet Tripathi at 3 pm.

1.45 pm: Nitish along with supporters reaches Governor's House

Nitish Kumar, along with his supporters, has reached the Raj Bhawan in Bihar, as he and 130 MLAs marched towards the Governor's House in Bihar, where he will ask the Governor to resolve the issue by either giving Manjhi 48 hours to prove his majority or appoint Nitish CM.

JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and RJD chief Lalu Prasad accompanied Nitish Kumar to Raj Bhawan. Nitish was also accompanied by MLAs of JD(U), RJD, Congress and CPI, according t PTI.

"We have majority. We want Nitish Kumar to be Bihar CM," said JD(U) leader Ramai Ram, who was one of the supporters marching towards the Governor's House.

12.58 pm: 'Operation Jitan Ram Manjhi' was carried on under Amit Shah's direction, says JD(U)

JD(U) leader KC Tyagi, in a press conference, said Manjhi had been expelled from the party because he was involved in anti-party activities.

"Sharad Yadav removed Jitan Ram Manjhi as a member of the JD(U) on charges of indiscipline," said Tyagi. "Yadav took this decision on the basis of party principle. The decision was taken on the basis of the emergency powers of the party under Article 23 of the party constitution," he said.

Tyagi also said that the JD(U) Legislature Party meeting in which Nitish Kumar was made the leader was called by Manjhi himself. "He called the meeting because he said there were some disputes which needed to be settled. However, instead of attending the meeting, he called the meeting invalid," said the JD(U) leader.

"Manjhi was involved in anti-party activities," he said. Tyagi also slammed the BJP for earlier criticising the Bihar government and later on siding with Manjhi. "Earlier, Sushil Kumar Modi had said that Bihar is going towards jungle raj. When we acted on Sushil Modi's advice (by removing Manjhi), he turned against us," Tyagi said.

"This entire script 'Operation Jitan Ram Manjhi' was under the direction of Amit Shah. And Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself blessed the operation," said Tyagi.

The JD(U) leader also challenged Manjhi to prove his majority on the floor of the House. "Manjhi just has 12 supporters...Within 48 hours, either Manjhi needs to prove his majority to the Governor or Nitish should become CM and show his majority," he said.

12.07 pm: Manjhi expelled from JD(U)

Jitan Ram Manjhi has been expelled from the JD(U), according to reports.

Jitan Ram Manjhi was expelled from JD(U). PTI

Jitan Ram Manjhi was expelled from JD(U). PTI

"(JD-U national president) Sharad Yadav has expelled Manjhi from the party for anti-party activities," Shrawan Kumar, who is considered close to Nitish Kumar, told IANS. "Manjhi is no longer with JD-U. It is final," he said.

Kumar also told IANS that JD(U) has informed Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi about Manjhi being expelled from the party.

CNN-IBN also said that the supporters of Manjhi will approach the judiciary over his dismissal. "Manjhi is not the leader of the legislative assembly," said KC Tyagi. He will also address a press conference at 12.30 pm, where he will reportedly give details on the party's next move.

Manjhi has now arrived in Patna and will meet the Bihar Governor at 1.30 pm. Nitish Kumar will meet the Governor at 2.30 pm, according to CNN-IBN.

11.59 am: All eyes on Bihar Governor to resolve crisis

"All eyes would be on the move of Governor Tripathi, who arrived here from Kolkata, as his any decision will make or mar Manjhi and Nitish Kumar's fate," a senior JD-U leader said requesting anonymity.

"Governor has several options, which he can exercise and opt," constitutional and legal experts said.

Meanwhile, JD-U's ally Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janta Dal's (RJD) legislature party meet began in Patna at former chief minister Rabri Devi's official residence to discuss the political situation. "RJD is solidly behind JD-U leader Nitish Kumar, who was re-elected as leader of the legislature party. We have majority with us and ready to prove it either today or tomorrow," RJD leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui said. - IANS

11.49 am: JD(U), Congress slam BJP for "interference" in Bihar tussle

The JD(U) lashed out at the BJP, PM Modi and party president Amit Shah, saying they were using Manjhi as a ploy to attack Nitish Kumar.

"Centre is trying to split JD(U). They are supporting Manjhi who has the support of only 12 MLAs," KC Tyagi told Times Now. "Amit Shah is famous for his encounters. Now, he is doing political encounter in Bihar," he said.

"There was no personal agenda in the removal of Manjhi," Tyagi said. He added that Nitish Kumar will meet the Bihar Governor at 1.30 pm today along with Lalu Prasad Yadav. "He will submit a list of 130 MLAs, that is more than the magic number...We have a clear-cut majority," he said.

JD-U state president Vashsisht Narain Singh has said that majority is with Nitish Kumar as "he is our leader. Manjhi is in minority".

Apart from the JD(U), Congress also criticised BJP for "interference" in the Bihar tussle. "What happened there is their internal problem, but we see a BJP game-plan behind this," said Congress leader PC Chacko. "The JD(U) CM met the Prime Minister. This shows that the PM himself is the conspirator. CM meeting PM shows that BJP is hand-in-glove with this defector of the JDU."

11.12 am: Nitish insulted CM post, concerned only about power, says BJP

BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain slammed former Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, saying Nitish has insulted the CM post and cares only about power.

"Nitish Kumar is looking worried whereas Manjhi is looking confident," Hussain said. "They are accusing BJP of instability in Bihar...But Nitish has to tell the people of Bihar why he broke ties with BJP in the first place. Did the desire to become PM not influence him?"

Further criticising Nitish, Hussain said, "When he had said that he would resign, why did Nitish design this intricate plot to sack a Mahadalit CM? What is the reason for Manjhi's resignation? What were his faults?"

"Nitish kept insulting the CM post. Manjhi was nothing but loyal to him...If Nitish wanted to become CM again, why did he resign in the first place? He has been exposed. He cares only about power," said the BJP leader. "The number of people who support Nitish will be decided on the floor of the House, not in his party's office," he added.

He also said Manjhi's press conference on Sunday was a big eye-opener. "Not letting a CM work and using him as a puppet shows what Nitish truly wanted," he said.

10.13 am: Modi's rath stopped by Kejriwal, Nitish will stop him in Bihar, says JD(U)

"If Nitish is not made Bihar CM, we will protest in Delhi," said JD(U) leader KC Tyagi. "Modi's rath will be stopped by Kejriwal and in Bihar, Nitish will stop Modi," he said.

Meanwhile, RJD said it will always support Nitish Kumar, according to CNN-IBN. They party also said that BJP was responsible for the political instability in Bihar.

Bihar Governor KN Tripathi has reached Patna. Nitish Kumar is expected to meet the Governor along with 130 MLAs at 1.30 pm today.

9 February, 9.08 am: Manjhi will support Nitish if he is made Deputy CM, says JD(U)

According to reports, JD(U) leader Ramai Ram said that Jitan Ram Manjhi will support Nitish Kumar if he is made the Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar. Manjhi, along with Nitish Kumar, will meet the Governor later today.

JD(U) leader Ali Anwar also said that "Jitan Ram Manjhi came under BJP's trap."

"Ultimately, this plan of BJP won't work," Anwar told ANI. "This entire game is BJP's, but they don't know what politics hold."

Reports also said that Manjhi has left the Bihar Niwas in New Delhi.

End of updates for 8 February

10 pm: Nitish to meet Bihar governor at 1.30 pm on Monday

The newly elected JD(U)LP leader Nitish Kumar was given time at 1:30 pm on Monday to meet Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi to stake claim to form the government, highly placed sources in Raj Bhawan said.

The governor would be arriving in Patna tomorrow at 9:30 am from Kolkata, amid hectic efforts by Nitish Kumar group to form a new government.

He would administer oath to the Chief Information Commissioner at Raj Bhawan at 12:30 pm on Monday, as per the invitation send to mediapersons about the function.

With Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi refusing to vacate the chair and Kumar, who was recognised as the new JD(U)LP leader by Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary during the day, all set to stake claim to form government, all eyes are set on the Raj Bhawan.

Earlier in the day letters of support by JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI and one independent in favour of Kumar claiming support of 130 out of the total 233 MLAs in the house was submitted to the Raj Bhawan.

6.30 pm: Feel sorry for Nitish Kumar, says Manjhi

A visibly unhappy Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi told a press conference in New Delhi that although Nitish Kumar is a good man he has now shown his real face. And what is this real face?

Manjhi said Nitish had. PTI

Manjhi said he felt sorry for Nitish. PTI

"Nitish Kumar cannot stay from power. He suffers from lust for power. JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav has no legal authority to call a meeting of the legislative body of the party. This is illegal," Manjhi said.

Calling the move to ouster him as unethical and anti-Dalit, he said, "They made me the chief minister thinking that I would act like a rubber stamp. But I have my self-respect. I have to raise my voice against something wrong. I feel bad that Nitish Kumar has been influenced by people with self-interest."

Asserting that he won't resign immediately, Manjhi said, "I am very much Bihar's chief minister and will remain till JD(U) decides otherwise, but Nitish Kumar is trying everything he can to become chief minister."

6.15 pm: Turf war in Bihar gets bitter with FIR

The fight within JD(U) on forming the government in Bihar turned uglier with an FIR being lodged against Minister Vinay Bihari for allegedly threatening a colleague from a rival camp, a charge denied by him.

An FIR has been lodged on the complaint of former minister Bima Bharti against Minister Vinay Bihari and MLA Sumit Singh for threatening her with dire consequences if she did not support Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi Manjhi, station house officer (SHO) of Sachivalya police station Amrendra Kumar Jha told PTI.

Sumit Singh is the son of senior minister Narendra Singh, who has emerged as the main adviser of Manjhi.

Bharti, who is among 15 ministers whose dismissal was recommended by Manjhi to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi yesterday, said she told Bihari that Nitish Kumar was her leader and Manjhi had 'back stabbed' him and the party.

11.45 am: Manjhi to meet PM Modi  

Beleaguered Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi is set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi in the evening today with the two expected to discuss the political situation in the state where an overwhelming majority of ruling JD(U) MLAs yesterday chose Nitish Kumar as their party leader, says a PTI report.

Manjhi, who has refused to step down and termed the JD(U) Legislature Party meet yesterday as "unconstitutional", said he wanted BJP to support his bid to prevent Nitish Kumar from taking over as Bihar CM. Kumar was once Manjhi's mentor.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at 5 PM and the Bihar CM is in Delhi to attend the NITI Aayog meet where Modi will seek views of chief ministers on the budgetary allocation for the states and various central projects. JD(U) has disapproved of Manjhi's bid to take part in the exercise.

Nitish Kumar to stake claim to form Bihar govt today
8 February, 8:35 am  Bihar's ruling JD-U seemed to be on the verge of a split as Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi sought dissolution of the assembly despite opposition from a majority of his cabinet even as his predecessor Nitish Kumar was re-elected legislature party chief and was likely to stake claim to form the government Sunday.

Twenty ministers, considered close to Nitish Kumar, resigned Saturday following Manjhi's move, said a Janata Dal-United leader.

Nitish Kumar, who was Saturday evening elected the legislature party leader at a meeting attended by nearly 100 of the party's 115 legislators, will stake claim to form the government Sunday, the leader said.

Meanwhile, a close aide of Manjhi, who Saturday evening reached Delhi to attend Sunday's meeting of the governing council of the NITI Aayog (which has replaced the Planning Commission), said he may take support from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to run the government.

"We will take support of the BJP to run the government if there is any such need," minister Narendra Singh, who is considered close to Manjhi, told the media.

End of updates on 7 Feb

10.47 pm: Manjhi reaches Delhi, BJP slams Nitish over Bihar CM row

Jitan Ram Manjhi has reached New Delhi to attend the NITI Aayog meeting scheduled for tomorrow. The rebel CM could be looking at wooing BJP in a bid to stay in power. There was no official word on whether he would separately meet the Prime Minister and BJP leaders.

As Manjhi reached Bihar Niwas in Delhi, his supporters raised slogans in his favour.

BJP also attacked JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, accusing him of being unjust to a 'Mahadalit' Bihar chief Jitan Ram Manjhi and demanded fresh polls in the state.

Narendra Modi and senior ministers in the party also held a meeting and discussed the Bihar situation. "We feel that there should be fresh polls in Bihar as Nitish Kumar has lost the mandate of the people who had elected BJP and JD-U to power and not JD-U alone. We are keeping a close watch on the situation and hope fresh polls are ordered soon. Nitish Kumar seems hungry for power and that is why he has got himself re-elected as the Legistrature Party leader by ousting a maha-dalit leader Jitan Ram Manjhi," BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told PTI.

10.12 pm: Case filed against Sharad Yadav for 'conspiring to remove' Manjhi

A case against JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav, general secretary KC Tyagi and spokesperson Neeraj Kumar was filed at a local court at Hajipur in Vaishali district on the charge of "conspiring to remove" Manjhi and insulting him.

"The case has been filed under sections 504 and 120B of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 at Chief Judicial Magistrate Kanhaiya Ram's court by a local dalit leader Lalan Ram," a PTI report quoted a court official as saying.

"In the case, Yadav, Tyagi and Kumar have been accused of conspiring to remove Manjhi and using abusive, as well as, unrestrained language against him with an intention to insult him with intent to provoke breach of peace in the society," the official added.

9.19 pm: 20 ministers resign from Manjhi's cabinet

Twenty ministers have resigned from Manjhi's cabinet in Bihar, out of which two were already dismissed, JD(U) leader Shyam Rajak told ANI.

Meanwhile, Bihar Governor KN Tripathi accepted the dismissal of the two JD(U) leaders Rajiv Ranjan Singh Lallan and PK Shahi, reported PTI.

6.23 pm: JD(U) members were worried under Manjhi, people of Bihar were restless, says Nitish

Nitish Kumar, in a press conference in Bihar, said he took the decision to return because the people and JD(U) members were worried under Manjhi's rule.

“I was forced to take up the challenge afresh. The kind of atmosphere being created in the state and the way the issue of governance, which was our USP, was being marginalized forced me come to the front,” announced Nitish, asking all his party legislators not to leave state headquarters for next few days.

"JD(U) members were worried under Manjhi's rule...People were restless in Bihar," said Kumar. "Our attempt now is to win the trust of the people again."

Kumar also said that when the Lok Sabha poll results came out, he resigned because he felt a lack of trust from the people of Bihar. "When the Lok Sabha polls came out, I resigned but JD(U) members were against it," he said. "Now, I am ready to take up the functioning of the state. I will lead from the front,” declared Nitish shortly after being elected the leader of the JD(U) legislature party.

Nitish Kumar elected leader of JD(U) Legislature Party, Manjhi sacked as Bihar CM

After a lot of speculation over the past week that Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi was going to be sacked, Nitish Kumar was elected as Leader of the JD(U) Legislature Party at a meeting called by party President Sharad Yadav to replace Jitan Ram Manjhi as Chief Minister of Bihar.

The Manjhi-Nitish tussle intensified today as Manjhi was sacked as the Bihar CM. IBNLive

The Manjhi-Nitish tussle intensified today as Manjhi was sacked as the Bihar CM. IBNLive

Masaurhi MLA Arun Manjhi, considered a supporter of Manjhi, proposed Kumar's name, which was approved by others, Minister Shrawan Kumar told reporters.

The meeting, which was dubbed by defiant Manjhi as "unauthorised", was attended by 97 out of 111 JD(U) MLAs and 37 out of a total of 41 members of the Legislative Council, party sources said.

The election of Kumar as the new leader of the party in the House comes nearly eight months after he resigned as CM in May, 2014 in the wake of party poor performance in general election.

He had handpicked Jitan Ram Manjhi to succeed him. Later, Manjhi rebelled against him.

Manjhi and seven ministers who had sided with him in the Cabinet meeting were absent along with some other MLAs and MLCs. They had submitted a proposal in a Cabinet meeting to dissolve the Bihar Legislative Assembly. However, The 21 pro-Nitish ministers out of a total of 29 rejected the proposal.

A copy of the letter signed by 21 pro-Nitish ministers, who had opposed the proposal was also faxed to President of India Pranab Mukherjee and Governor Kesrinath Tripathi.

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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2015 07:32:31 IST