Dissent Surfaces in Janata Dal-United After Cabinet Expansion

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Patna:  A day after Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi expanded his ministry, voices of dissent Tuesday surfaced in the ruling Janata Dal-United.

Nearly half a dozen JD-U legislators, unhappy over not being inducted into the council of ministers, held a meeting here to chalk out their strategy.

JD-U legislators Gayanu Singh, Ajit Kumar and Neeraj Kumar criticised the party decision to accommodate some legislators who allegedly worked against the party's interests and insulted former chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Mr Gayanu, considered close to Nitish Kumar since the days of Samata Party (from the mid-1990s) had already expressed his displeasure over induction of some legislators at the cost of "more deserving candidates".

"Unhappy over the cabinet expansion, half-a-dozen JD-U legislators held a meeting at Gayanu's house here to decide their next course of action to put pressure on the party leadership to induct some of them in the cabinet," a JD-U leader close to Mr Gayanu said.

Angry over induction of Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lallan Singh in the cabinet, Neeraj Kumar resigned from the post of the party's spokesperson.

JD-U state president Vashisht Narain Singh said some people have expressed their reservations after the cabinet expansion but there is no revolt in the party as reported.

"Things will be sorted out soon. We will persuade all party legislators to work together for the 2015 state assembly polls that is a big task and a challenge for us," Mr Singh said.

Another JD-U legislator and former minister Ajit Kumar has threatened to resign from the assembly for being ignored in the cabinet expansion.

This was the first cabinet expansion after Mr Manjhi was sworn in as chief minister last month after Nitish Kumar quit following the Janata Dal-United's rout in the Lok Sabha election.

According to JD-U leaders, more dissenters will surface in the next 24 hours in the party. "Wait for one or two days, more people will come out over this issue," they said.

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