Patna: Bihar Chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi appears to be on the way out in the wake of his defiance as the JD(U) is all set to replace him with his mentor Nitish Kumar at a meeting of the legislature party tomorrow.
Dogged by controversies ever since Manjhi took over from Nitish after the Lok Sabha debacle, the party decided to set its house in order for the assembly elections later this year by bringing him back at the helm.
Knives were out between the two factions with Manjhi, who is a Mahadalit, terming tomorrow's meeting as "unauthorised" and calling a Legislature Party meeting in his capacity as Leader of the House on February 20. Instead of attending tomorrow's meeting, a defiant Chief Minister is planning to go to Delhi to attend a meeting of the NITI Aayog convened by prime minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.
There were signs that Manjhi, who was brought in as a stop-gap arrangement after Nitish quit in the wake of JD(U)'s Lok Sabha debacle, will be shown the door with JD(U) general secretary K.C. Tyagi indicating as much.
"After 4 PM tomorrow, Manjhi will not remain the leader of Janata Dal (United) Legislature Party," Tyagi said.
He said the move to bring back Nitish Kumar has the backing of RJD chief Lalu Paraad, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav and JD(U) chief Shard Yadav.
When asked about Manjhi's plan to attend the Delhi meeting, Tyagi wondered in what capacity he will do so "when he will not be the chief minister".
He said the decision to give "marching orders" to Manjhi has "become imperative" in view of his repeated controversial remarks and activities for the past few days despite being asked by top leaders to mend his ways.
He said the 2010 mandate in Bihar was in the name of Nitish Kumar and "Manjhi was only a temporary arrangement".
For tomorrow's meeting called by party President Sharad Yadav, notices were today sent to 111 party MLAs and 41 members of Legislative Council including Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and Nitish Kumar.
JD(U) general secretary K.C.Tyagi told reporters that Manjhi could be removed from the party if he violates discipline and not attend tomorrow's meeting.
Manjhi reacted angrily to the remarks. "Tyagi has gone mad," he told reporters in Khagaria.
The fight between the two groups spilled on to the streets today. Supporters of Kumar and Manjhi clashed outside state JD(U) headquarters.
JD(U) sources said some people under the banner of Dalit Mushar Chetna Samiti assembled outside the party office, shouted slogans and burnt effigy of Nitish Kumar.
Senior Superintendent of Police, Patna, Jitendra Rana said police force has been deployed there after the incident.
The protesters also allegedly attacked some people believed to be supporters of the former Chief Minister, who had quit after the Lok Sabha election debacle last year and had handpicked Manjhi to succeed him.