On a day when Nitish Kumar won the trust vote, the BJP struggled to keep its members together after some of the senior party leaders expressed their resentment over Nand Kishore Yadav's nomination as leader of the Opposition in the state assembly.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar during the chief minister's conference on internal security New Delhi. HT Photo/Sunil Saxena
Senior party leaders--Prem Kumar, Chandra Mohan Rai, Vikram Kunwar, Amarendra Pratap and Giriraj Singh-- boycotted the crucial legislature party meeting convened on Wednesday morning to discuss floor strategy for the confidence motion brought by the chief minister.
They also resolved to take up the issue with the national high command.
Talking to Hindustan Times, Prem Kumar, former minister in the Nitish government, alleged that the party chose to ignore the democratic norms in electing the leader of the legislature party.
"The decision was taken without consulting the legislators-which is a basic norm for such a selection" he said.
"Seniority has also been ignored in the selection procedure. I have been elected legislator six times in a row, whereas Yadav has been elected only five times. I have a better political record," Kumar said, adding that Yadav's act of keeping open his business establishments in Patna during the recent Bihar Bandh, had brought embarrassment to the party.
Supporting the cause raked up by Prem Kumar, another senior legislator wondered as to why the state BJP chose to ignore a senior candidate belonging to extremely backward caste (EBC), when the party was trying to play the same card to improve its score in the next Lok Sabha polls.
"The same card could help the party to challenge the might of JD-U in its own bastion," he added.
State BJP chief Mangal Pandey and Nand Kishore Yadav sought to playdown the brewing discontent within the party, saying, the decision of appointing the legislature party leader was taken by the national parliamentary board. Pandey claimed there was no dispute over the election procedure.
On being asked whether the BJP had walked out of the trust vote to cover the dissidence, Yadav said, the decision to put the party's viewpoint and walkout later was taken at the legislature party meet before the assembly session.