What will the Janata Dal (United) legislative party decide at its 4pm meeting on Sunday? That was the big question in Patna in the wake of the sudden resignation of Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar a day earlier.
While many legislators such as Shahid Ali Khan and Gyanendra Singh Gyanoo felt it was an emotional decision, without taking into account the sentiments of a large number of legislators, Nitish pitched his resignation as a 'moral obligation' he felt for the rout of his party.
However, the stunner was party national president Sharad Yadav’s announcement that the JD(U) was ready for business with RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
Many groups within the JD(U) are against any alliance with Lalu. Almost 80% of JD(U) legislators have apparently rejected Sharad’s idea.
Amid a poor show in the Lok Sabha elections, Lalu indicated he was not inclined to pull down the government, saying, “Hum ney toh resignation nahin managa tha (I had not asked for resignation).”
Former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi had told HT earlier "the BJP deserves a chance to run Bihar".
The problem for the BJP is to find at least 80 JD(U) MLAs to make a successful break and bring down the government, while supporting that group with its 89 members. At this point, that looks like a tall order.
Amid the fluid situation, the JD-U is reported to have lifted suspension of three MLAs who had faced action for anti-party activities. If they are included, the party's numbers go up to 116. With 4 Congress legislators and 4 independents staying in support, it will be enough for a stable government in the 242-member House.