The red carpet was laid out and the band was ready to play in honour of Governor Keshri Nath Tripathi at the assembly lawns. Security was beefed up and guards at Assembly gates were busy frisking visitors.
Legislators from all parties had been waiting anxiously for the much-awaited trust vote. JD(U) and RJD leaders occasionally shouted “Nitish Kumar Zindabad”. Almost every leader in the Nitish camp was talking of “chattani ekta (rock solid unity)” as BJP MLAs watched silently, flashing the victory sign for the cameras.
News arrived at 10:40 that Jitan Ram Manjhi has resigned. There was disbelief. In the meantime, Nitish Kumar’s carcade arrived and stopped at Bihar Legislative Council’s gate. Cameras and mikes followed Kumar, who said, “I have no official confirmation if he resigned.”
Once the confirmation of Manjhi’s resignation came, slogans of “Nitish Kumar zindabad” resonated. Former JD(U) minister and key Nitish aide Shyam Rajak was seen smiling, taking calls in between. Rajak crossed path with BJP leader Sunil Kumar Pintu and asked: “What was your V sign for just a few minutes ago?” Pintu held Rajak’s hands and with a big smile said: “It was not V sign. It was my two fingers — one for you and another for Nitish Kumar.” Both laughed heartily. The common opinion was that “it was such an anti-climax”.
BJP leaders were much in demand to explain Manjhi’s decision as nobody from the Manjhi camp had reached Assembly by then.
The scene of action changed and no one was interested in staying back at the Assembly anymore. A policeman was heard telling a relative over the phone: “Suna hai Nitishji aa rahe hai. Muft ke subah subah duty laga diya.”