"Nitish Kumar would be CM candidate of the JD(U) in the Assembly election. But, a final decision on the name for the CM post of the alliance will be taken by leaders of constituent parties after the poll," Manjhi told reporters.

Asked if JD(U) would set "precondition" of declaring Kumar as CM nominee before finalising the alliance, he said the constituent parties have freedom to discuss such issues within its own organisation and then leaders of the partners would sit and decide a name for the CM post of the alliance.

Senior RJD leader and former Union minister Raghubansh Prasad Singh has said that Kumar could be CM choice of JD(U) but not of the alliance.

Though Kumar's name is talked of as future CM on all party fora, a section of JD(U) leaders hold the opinion that Manjhi has also performed well.

Manjhi, who succeeded Kumar to the CM post on May 19 this year after the former stepped down in the wake of party debacle in the general election, said on the sidelines of "Janata ke darbar me Mukhya Mantri" programme that "priority of the alliance will be to defeat BJP and not electing a CM."

He, however, said he was not in the race for CM post.

Asked since RJD President Lalu Prasad is disqualified for contesting election and in such a case was there any other leaders among constituents of Kumar's  stature for the CM post, Manjhi said there were many experienced leaders in RJD and Congress who have capability to become CM.

Manjhi said he met Lalu Prasad in Delhi yesterday to know his health but said there was no political talks.

On JD(U) President Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar attending a function at Meerut yesterday and campaigning for Indian National Lok Dal of Om Prakash Chautala at Haryana in a bid to bring more parties of "Janata parivar" on one platform against BJP, he said following success of alliance in Bihar in bypoll, efforts were on the repeat the experiment at national level.

Asked that growth rate has come down in Bihar after Kumar left the chair which reflects that governance has been a casualty, Manjhi disagreed and said he was continuing with the developmental roadmap laid down by Kumar.

"I keep checking facts and data and there is no indication of deterioration in pace of development of the state," he asserted.