Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar sailed through the confidence vote in the assembly today, after the split with the NDA, garnering 126 votes against the 122 needed for a simple majority amidst a walkout by the MLAs of former ally, BJP.
Nitish Kumar looks on during the trust vote in the Bihar Assembly. Picture courtesy DD news Bihar
While 22 RJD and two Independent legislators opposed the motion, LJP legislator Zakir Hussein who had pledged support to JD(U) on Tuesday, abstained from voting after a call from party chief Ram Vilas Paswan.
The Nitish government won support of the four Congress legislators and four independents, bringing the tally to 126, though with 91 BJP legislators absent at the time of the vote, the JD-U needed only 76 votes to remain in power.
Assembly speaker Uday Narain Choudhary said Nitish Kumar, who moved a one-line resolution, had won the trust vote 126-24. After the BJP walkout, a vote was not needed as the majority was evident. However, it was taken up on the insistence of Bijendra Yadav, a JD-U minister.
That put an end to the acrimony which had started on June 9 with the elevation of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the chief of the BJP campaign committee, seen by the JD(U) as the first move to anoint him as the next prime ministerial candidate in 2014. The JD(U) wanted the NDA to project a secular face as the PM candidate and Modi, with 2002 anti-Muslim riots taint on him, didn’t fit in the definition.
Earlier, the house met at 11.30 am to move the resolution and debate it at 11.30 am. The vote on the trust motion was held at 3 pm.
Newly-nominated opposition leader Nand Kishore Yadav, who spoke for 43 minutes, said the BJP had been backstabbed by the JD-U, which had brought down a highly successful government and thus betrayed the trust of the people and their mandate.
He said, the trust deficit in the government did not allow it to vote and protest was the only way. He soon walked out with 85 of its 91 legislators who had participated in the debate.
RJD legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui blamed the JD(U) for making a virtue of its decision and asserting its secular character after having shared power with the BJP for eight years. He said the split on these grounds would not convince the people of the JD(U) stand.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar strongly defended the JD(U)’s decision to break the alliance, citing principles and conscience.
He said the events following the split and the RSS resolution at Meerut doubting the efficacy of politics and declaring Hindutva as the only model that could save India was the evidence enough that the NDA could not carry all people of the country with it.
Saying the coalition politics was there to stay, he said even an intact NDA would not have been in a position to win the next parliamentary election, and its divisive politics now has endangered the country.
He said the lack of trust in each other and the “autocratic” manner in which BJP was trying to thrust its values and politics on the allies had made the break inevitable.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party of now trying to impose divisive politics, Kumar said the politics of consultation which the BJP believed in under Atal Bihari Vajpayee had ended.
In a speech in the assembly during a trust motion he moved to prove his majority, Nitish Kumar said India was built on secular foundations and his party would not tolerate anyone trying to cause religious divide.
"The country should be run in a manner so as to take everyone along. Coalition governments are the norm now. No party should be under the false premise that they can run the country on their own steam," he said.
"The work ethics of Atalji (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) was based on how to take everyone along, based on consultations. But now it has changed," he added.
Criticising the BJP, Nitish Kumar said the BJP's dream of ruling India would be shattered.
He said the BJP had no chance to win the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
"Even if we remained with them, notching up 200 seats would be difficult. Don't be under the illusion that you can do it alone. This is the time of coalitions," he said.
Taking a dig at Modi's Gujarat model of development, Nitish Kumar said: "What vikas (development) model is this where you improve areas that are already good? What kind of improvement is it?"
He said the BJP had benefited by aligning with his Janata Dal-United (JD-U).
"We will not tolerate thopna (imposition of views). We are for the policy of taking everyone along and against divisive policies," he asserted.
117 JD(U)+ 4 Cong+ 4 Ind+1 CPI= 126 (Speaker abstained)
BJP walks out with 91 legislators; 1 LJP member abstains, 22 RJD MLAs and 2 Independents vote against Nitish govt
(With inputs from agencies)