Jitan Ram Manjhi quits as Bihar CM, claims threat to life

PATNA: Jitan Ram Manjhi resigned as the Bihar chief minister hours before the floor test on Friday and recommended the dissolution of the Bihar Assembly.

Manjhi said that he did not get respect as chief minister.

"I have submitted my resignation letter to the governor. I should have quit before," said Manjhi soon after he met Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi here Friday.

He claimed that he as well as some legislators had received threats to their lives.

An official told IANS that Manjhi met the governor ahead of a trust vote he faced later in the day.

On Thursday, Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary accepted former chief minister Nitish Kumar's demand that Janata Dal (United) (JD-U) be given the status of the main opposition party with the BJP deciding to support Manjhi during the confidence vote.

Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators created a ruckus and protested in the Bihar assembly complex against the decision to appoint the JD-U leader as the leader of opposition.

Manjhi, after being expelled from the JD-U Feb 9, has been declared as an unattached member in the assembly. He was expelled for allegedly "indulging in anti-party activities". But he has refused to resign and has to prove his majority in the house Friday.

Manjhi Thursday said he will offer cabinet berths to legislators, who will support him during the confidence motion. "Aaiye mera samarthan kijiye, mantri pad lijiye (come to support me and become a minister)," he told reporters, attending a function here.

The statement was criticised by the JD-U.

Earlier, the Patna High Court ordered that eight rebel JD-U legislators, considered close to Manjhi, would not vote Feb 20 during the confidence motion in the assembly.

A bench of Justice Iqbal Ahmad barred the JD-U MLAs from voting after hearing their petition, seeking permission to vote during the floor test.

Manjhi was picked by Nitish Kumar as his replacement when he quit last year after JD-U's rout in the Lok Sabha polls.

In the 243-member assembly, the JD-U has 115 legislators -- most of whom are with Nitish Kumar. The party has the support of 24 Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislators, five Congress MLAs, two Independents and a CPI MLA.

The BJP has 88 legislators and is supported by three Independents. (Agencies)