Setback for Opposition after 3 Congress, RJD MLAs sit with NDA in Bihar assembly - Hindustan Times
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Setback for Opposition after 3 Congress, RJD MLAs sit with NDA in Bihar assembly

ByArun Kumar
Feb 27, 2024 09:24 PM IST

The three MLAs, two of the Congress and one of the RJD, who shifted to the treasury side have not made a formal announcement about changing their party

PATNA: Bihar’s grand alliance (GA) suffered a setback on Tuesday after three lawmakers - two from the Congress and one from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) - shifted to the treasury benches during the ongoing budget session, the change in seats seen as a precursor to crossing over to the state’s ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

An RJD leader said it would be naive to expect the six lawmakers to vote with the RJD and the Congress (HT FILE PHOTO)
An RJD leader said it would be naive to expect the six lawmakers to vote with the RJD and the Congress (HT FILE PHOTO)

This is the second batch of opposition lawmakers to signal a change of heart this month

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On February 12, three RJD lawmakers - Sheohar lawmaker Chetan Anand, the son of criminal-turned-politician Anand Mohan Singh, Surgarha RJD MLA Prahlad Yadav, and Neelam Devi, lawmaker from Mokama and wife of jailed strongman Anant Singh - voted with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Janata Dal (United) on the no-confidence motion against the former assembly speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary, of the RJD. To be sure, they have not exited the RJD.

The three MLAs, Murari Gautam and Siddharth Sourav of the Congress and the RJD’s Sangita Kumari, who shifted their seats on Tuesday, have not made a formal announcement about changing their party either.

But on Tuesday, they showered praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Siddharth Sourav said he was impressed with the policies and programmes of PM Modi and Nitish Kumar. “I have old ties with Samrat Choudhary. How things unfold, you all will get to know. I will do what is in the interest of the nation. Wait for some time,” he told reporters.

Gautam is MLA from Chenarun (Sasaram), Sangita Kumari from Mohania (both reserved seats) and S Siddharth represents Bikram.

An RJD leader said it would be naive to expect the six lawmakers to vote with the RJD and the Congress.

It is not clear how the depletion in the strength of the RJD-Congress camp - the RJD has 79 legislators and the Congress, 19 - will impact the elections for the 11 seats of the legislative council.

Moments before they moved to the treasury benches, the three legislators were spotted with Bihar BJP president and deputy chief minister Samrat Choudhary in the assembly complex.

Former speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary said there was a need to act against truant lawmakers, saying this did not happen last time when they voted against him.

Deputy chief minister Vijay Kumar Sinha said opposition legislators were coming to the NDA fold on their own. “Those who wanted to do Khela are now unable to understand how the game has changed. Their own MLAs have lost faith in their leader. They are running away as they cannot take any more insults in a dynastic party and see hope in PM Narendra Modi’s development politics,” he added.

Senior BJP minister Prem Kumar said more opposition lawmakers will make the switch before the Lok Sabha elections. “This is because the legislators see the fate of GA, which will collapse soon,” he added.

AIMIM leader Akhtarul Imam said the RJD had done the same thing in the past. “But it is a bad trend for politics and it cannot be described as healthy, as this will be dangerous for democracy,” he added.

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