Jitan Ram Manjhi meets Nitish Kumar to ease out tension
Patna: Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi yesterday met JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and had discussions amid reports of "power tussle" between him and five ministers.
Manjhi reached Kumar's 7, Circular Road residence and was engaged in discussion with the former Chief Minister. Sources in Kumar's house confirmed the visit of Manjhi though there was no meeting scheduled between them.
It was immediately not known what transpired between the two, but the visit is being seen as an efforts to end "differences" which in recent days has hogged limelight.
As a fallout of the "power tussle", five ministers gave a miss to a function yesterday in which Manjhi was present, leaving the chief minister to cut a sorry figure. But, the things seems to improve today with two of the ministers sharing the dais with the chief minister.
HRD minister Brishen Patel and Food Minister Shyam Rajak, who were among the five who left Manjhi in a lurch at a seminar organised by Shikshak Sangrha Morcha, were with him at the inauguration of Patna Book Fair during the day.
The three were encircled in a big marigold garland and obliged photographers with smiling faces to show that everything was fine within the JD(U).
When asked, Patel told reporters that there was 'nothing serious' in his absence on Thursday and the controversy was the 'handiwork' of the opposition BJP.
Rajak too played down the event. In reply to a question whether the chief minister had asked him about his absence yesterday, he told "These are non serious issues which does not deserve any discussion."
The other three who had given the programme a miss yesterday were Rural Development Minister Shrawan Kumar, Urban Development Minister Samrat Chaudhary and Animal Husbandry Department Minister Baidyanath Sahni.
Their absence had led Manjhi, who is embattled by the row over the appointment of his son-in-law as his personal assistant, to comment that he knew his days as chief minister were numbered.
Manjhi was handpicked by Kumar to succeed him as chief minister after he resigned in May this year in the wake of severe drubbing his party received in the Lok Sabha election.
Their relationship showed a dip in recent days in the wake of assertions of Manjhi which was construed as his efforts to independently consolidate his position.
The rift gained currency with Kumar missing several functions in which he had to share dais with Manjhi.