With state assembly elections in Bihar just 10 months away, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) MLAs, along with support from Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav want to reinstate Nitish Kumar as chief minister, replacing Jitan Ram Manjhi.
Reports suggest there is a growing feeling among JD-U MLAs that given his performance as chief minister, Manjhi won't be able to successfully lead the party during assembly polls in October-November this year, reports IBNLive.
Besides, with Lalu Yadav supporting Nitish Kumar's comeback, the change seems certain.
Another reason for a likely change of guard is the "growing distance" betwen Manjhi and some of his cabinet ministers, a fact acknowledged by the state JD-U president Basistha Narayan Singh. "Manjhi should take the initiative to bridge the gap between him and some ministers of his Cabinet as it is his team and he is running the government," PTI quoted Singh as saying.
Manjhi has also earned Yadav's ire by praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi; given Yadav's animosity towards the BJP, this has not gone down well with Yadav.
On record, however, Nitish Kumar has denied reports of a change of guard. "There is no substance in media speculation over Manjhi's ouster," he said. He is scheduled to meet JD-U MLAs and senior leaders on 4 February.
The Indian Express citing sources said that RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, in a meeting with JD-U president Sharad Yadav said he won't object to Nitish Kumar replacing Manjhi as chief minister.
Sensing the mood of his party members, Manjhi seems to be bracing up for an inevitable change. "I have no knowledge if Nitish Kumar wants to come back (as CM)... If JD(U) legislature party chooses him as the leader, I will propose his name for CM," Manjhi said on Monday.