Manjhi did not turn up for meeting at 7 Circular Road residence of Nitish Kumar in which MPs and those who had contested general election were called.

Manjhi had contested unsuccessfully from Gaya (SC) seat and was expected to be present in the meeting.

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said the issue on decision on Manjhi was not on the agenda. "There was no talk over Manjhi. It was not on agenda of the meeting," Yadav told reporters after the meeting.

Seeking to play down the speculation, he said the evening meeting was in connection with JD(U)'s statewide rally in Patna on February 15.

"I, being a Rajya Sabha member from party, had come here in this connection only. All party MPs and those who contested Lok Sabha election, they all have been put to work for the success of the rally," the JD(U) president said.

Asked about absence of Manjhi, he said there would be talk with him and the Chief Minister would also work for success of the rally. He evaded a reply whether Manjhi would last as Chief Minister till November saying "the question itself is wrong."

JD(U) general secretary K C Tyagi, who also attended the meeting, told reporters that there was no talk on removal of Manjhi or on internal matters of the party.

On Manjhi not attending the meeting, he said, "He is now Chief Minister and not only a nominee of JD(U) who had contested last Parliamentary poll." Sources in the Chief Minister's Office said Manjhi was busy with a meeting of PHED department.

Speculation was rife since morning that a decision could be taken on Manjhi continuing on Chief Minister's chair amid reports of heightening of conflict between pro-Nitish and pro-Manjhi leaders.

The immediate trigger was Manjhi publically talking about poor performance of Road Construction Department (RCD) which forced him to change the Secretary. Nitish Kumar's close aide Rajiv Ranjan Lallan is the RCD minister.

Earlier in the day, Manjhi feigned ignorance about his removal. "You all know from where such reports have come from. I am a CM and discharging my duty," Manjhi told reporters.

When asked that many leaders were talking about his removal, Manjhi shot back asking, "Has Nitish Kumar said this to you?"

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