Crisis in Bihar. 20 Ministers Resign in Support for Nitish Kumar

Crisis in Bihar. 20 Ministers Resign in Support for Nitish Kumar

File photo: Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and his predecessor and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar

Patna: Nitish Kumar's planned return as Chief Minister of Bihar has plunged his party and the state into a crisis - the man he installed as his replacement, Jitan Ram Manjhi, doesn't plan to quit. Mr Kumar exited office last year after leading his party to a shockingly poor performance in the last election.

Here are 10 big developments on this story:

  1. Mr Manjhi landed in Delhi this evening to attend the Niti Ayog meeting, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek chief ministers' feedback on the budget and Central projects. But there are speculations that he might meet the BJP Central leaders.

  2. Mr Kumar's re-entry as Chief Minister was endorsed today by the law-makers from his party, the Janata Dal United or JDU. "The people have lost confidence, they were expressing the need to see work being done," Mr Kumar said, explaining the initiative to remove Mr Manjhi.

  3. The JDU has written to Governor KN Tripathi informing him that Mr Kumar was the leader of the party in the legislature and should be inducted as Chief Minister. In a show of support for Mr Kumar, 20 ministers resigned earlier this evening.

  4. Bihar elections are scheduled for later this year, and the party wants Mr Kumar,63, as the face of its campaign.

  5. But Mr Manjhi, who is 70, is exhibiting considerable staying power. At a cabinet meeting today, he was authorised to recommend the dissolution of the assembly. The majority of ministers left the meeting in protest.

  6. The seven ministers who were left behind were enough for a quorum - the minimum number needed to endorse a decision.

  7. What happens next for Bihar will be decided by the Governor in consultation with the union government, which is led by the BJP.

  8. Amit Shah, BJP chief, met this evening with top leaders of his party from Bihar including Sushil Modi to review strategy. The BJP has reportedly decided against any direct intervention; it believes JDU's infighting will leave the party further enervated.

  9. Mr Manjhi has, in recent months, signaled that if he is forced out of office, crossing over to the BJP is a viable option.

  10. Others in his party could follow. The BJP, powered by the Prime Minister's campaigns, has won elections in other states, and many in the JDU take this as a sign of things to come for Bihar.