New Delhi, February 09, 2015 (Agencies) Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on Sunday refused to resign and dared his predecessor Nitish Kumar to prove his strength on the Assembly floor. He, thus, made it amply clear that he would only step down if he lost in the trial of strength.

Determined for a full-fledged confrontation with Kumar, Manjhi expressed confidence that he had the support of an adequate number of MLAs to defeat any no-confidence motion, but said he was also open to accepting the support of MLAs from the BJP. The BJP, which is being blamed for creating a rift in the JD-U, remained a silent spectator of the political drama unfolding in Bihar.

Saffron party sources suggest that it will not come out in open support of Manjhi as it will be seen as an attempt to destabilise the Bihar government. 
The party, however, will keep attacking Nitish over the Manjhi issue. “I am very much the chief minister. I will continue to hold the post till legislature parties decide otherwise. The Assembly is the place to prove majority. I have already written to the governor to convene the Budget Session. I will prove my majority on February 19 or 20. If Nitish has the numbers, let him prove his

majority. I will step down,” he told reporters.

He also rejected the decision to recognise Nitish as new JD-U Legislature Party leader and termed it “illegal”. 

Manjhi, who is in Delhi to attend the NITI Aayog meet, later met Prime Minister Narendra Modi where he discussed issues relating to development of Bihar. “Yes, I did request him for help in the current situation. I requested support to ensure development of Bihar. If this is politics, I do not know what to say,” said Manjhi, praising Modi for “his good works”.

Replying to questions, Manjhi said Nitish “is hungry for power” and “threatened” MLAs to gain their support. He also accused JD-U president Sharad Yadav of pressuring him to quit. “The JD-U president asked me to propose Nitish’s name as the new party leader,” he said.

Manjhi said Nitish, who placed him in the chief minister's post, was now uncomfortable with him as he was drawing bigger support than him. “He picked me thinking that I would function as a rubber-stamp leader... For 34-35 years in politics, I played dumb as leaders with backgrounds like me were either killed or sidelined if they dared to speak. But my self respect woke up and I began acting independently,” he said.

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