Nitish Kumar of the Janata Dal United flew back to Patna today with his entourage of a 100 plus legislators after accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP of "attempting to throttle democracy."
Mr Kumar alleges that Bihar Governor KN Tripathi's decision to ask current chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi to prove his majority in the state assembly on February 20 has been scripted in Delhi and is designed to "allow horse-trading of MLAs."
The BJP says it has nothing to do "with infighting in the JDU." Its Ravi Shankar Prasad said he "rejected the malicious charge on horse trading" and asked, "Why can't Nitish control his MLAs?"
Mr Kumar is engaged in an intense tussle with Jitan Ram Manjhi, the man he picked nine months ago to be chief minister when he resigned after his party's defeat in the national elections. Now he wants the post of Chief Minister back, but Mr Manjhi has refused to budge.
Mr Kumar had demanded a special sitting of the assembly for a trust vote to be held immediately, and paraded 128 legislators to President Pranab Mukherjee in Delhi to show he has the numbers.
"First a delay by the Governor in taking a decision and then giving Manjhi more time shows that it is being done according to a script written in Delhi and to give adequate time to execute the license for horse-trading," Mr Kumar alleged today, adding, "This has been decided at the highest level. It started after Manjhi met the Prime Minister."
Mr Manjhi is said to have the support of 12 of the JDU's 111 legislators. If the BJP's 87 and three independents support him, he will have 102.
Nitish Kumar and his allies say they have the support of 128 MLAs. The current majority mark in the assembly is 117.