New alliance partners of JD(U) in the state, RJD and Congress today refused to buy the views of Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi that Nitish Kumar should be the chief minister if the alliance secures majority in the Assembly polls next year, but Manjhi stood by his remarks.
Manjhi's comment made in Jharkhand yesterday has triggered a debate in Bihar ahead of the August 21 bypoll in ten seats in the state. RJD and Congress said it was the "opinion of the JD(U) and not of the alliance" and the leader of the alliance would be decided after the polls. But Manjhi today stuck to what he had said even amid a rebuff of sorts.
"Whatever alliance partners think, it depends on them. For us, Nitish Kumar is most acceptable leader and Sharad Yadav, the party president. The party is run on the basis of the opinion of the two leaders," Manjhi told reporters here. "I had said yesterday in Jharkhand that if Nitish Kumar wishes to become chief minister I will be first to propose his name for the post. If he (Kumar) chooses to go to national politics I will like him to become prime minister," Manjhi said.
RJD Legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui told PTI that "its the stand of JD(U) and not of the alliance." "The decision about chief minister will be taken after the poll by leaders of the partner parties. At that time any A B C can be chosen as CM," Siddiqui said.
Congress also dubbed Manjhi's assertions as an "internal matter of JD(U)." "When the alliance for the Assembly election next year will be formalised and seeing the poll results, a decision will be taken by leaders of partner parties as to who will be the chief minister," Congress vice-president and its media in-charge, Prem Chand Mishra said.
In this situation, BJP was amused with senior leader Sushil Kumar Modi asking the JD(U)-Congress-RJD alliance to first get majority in the polls. "The question of choosing a CM, whether its Nitish Kumar or somebody else, will come only when they will get a majority in the Assembly polls next year," Modi told PTI.
His party colleague and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Nand Kishore Yadav alleged that "Manjhi's comments confirm that Nitish Kumar is the actual force of present government and he is only a pawn.