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Bitterness stalks Bihar trust vote as friends and foes interchange places

Tejashwi Yadav, deputy CM under Nitish Kumar till earlier this week, attacked his ex-boss, whereas BJP leaders, trenchant critics of Kumar since he broke away from NDA in 2013, stoutly rose to his defence.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2017 19:46 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar assembly,Trust vote,CM Nitish Kumar
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar with his MLAs at the Bihar assembly, in Patna on Friday. (AP Dube/HT photo)

The changed colours and contours of Bihar politics were in full display when the Bihar assembly assembled on Friday for the vote of confidence sought by chief minister Nitish Kumar in the new, NDA government he came to head on Thursday.

On the one hand, RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who had served as deputy CM under him for about 20 months before Kumar resigned as CM of a grand alliance government on Wednesday and formed a fresh one with the BJP-led NDA on Thursday, went hammer and tongs against his former boss, in his speech during the vote.

On the other, the BJP members, CM Kumar’s bitter critics for much of the past four years, since Kumar exited the NDA in June 2013 when the BJP put Narendra Modi in line to be the alliance’s PM candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll, rose in spirited defence of their ‘prodigal’ ally.

While Tejashwi, now leader of opposition, termed ‘chacha’ Nitish's decision to resign and plunge GA into turmoil as ‘premeditated’ and akin to ‘murder of democracy’, BJP’s Nand Kishore Yadav jumped in defence of Kumar, hailing his “wise and brave decision” join forces with the NDA in Bihar’s larger interest.

Cut to the quick by the opposition allegation he had played a ‘fixed’ match with the BJP to jettison the grand alliance, an unusually charged up Kumar threatened to ‘expose’ his detractors, both inside and outside the House. “The people are the biggest court. I cannot allow secularism to be used as cover up for corrupt deeds,” he said.

Former assembly speaker and senior Congress leader Sadanand Singh said he found it tough to believe that Kumar had switched sides.

“Did he not stop even for a moment to think of the GA, which stopped the BJP from taking over Bihar. Did he not remember what he said about the BJP, i.e. he would never again join hands with the party till his last breath?” he asked.

Nand Kishore Yadav, who was road construction minister in an earlier NDA government headed by Kumar, said the chief minister did not know that his young deputy had amassed so much of unaccounted wealth. “Whenever Kumar has resigned, it has been on the matter of principle. “This time is no different,” he added.

On Tejaswhi’s accusations that the mandate of the poor, Dalits and minorities had been hijacked (by Kumar’s decision to join forces with the NDA),Yadav wondered how thousands of crores of poor people’s money had reached one family.

“One thing known about Nitishji is that he cannot compromise on corruption. Had Laluji not been blinded by the love for his son, he would have made senior leader like Abdul Bari Siddiqui the deputy CM,” he added.

Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi said it was tough for Kumar to continue as CM amid corruption and crime, which RJD symbolized.

“The RJD leadership did not even suspend convicted rx-MP Mohammad Shahabuddin and made him a member of the party’s national executive. Another convict , RJD MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav, talked at length with RJD chief. Then, there was benami property slur (on Lalu’s family members). The mandate was not for such things,” he added.

As RJD members tried to shout Modi down, the Speaker intervened to restore order in the house.Modi even ‘thanked’ the Congress and the RJD for prevailing upon Tejashwi ‘not to resign’. “But for that, I would not have returned to office in Bihar after four years”, he quipped.

The bitterness in the house was all too apparent amidst frequent slogan shouting from the opposition benches and equally vociferous rebuttals by the treasury side. The move of Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary to go in for a voice vote to decide the outcome of the trust vote also came to a nought amid the shouting.

As such the trust vote was settle 131 to 108 votes, through lobby division..

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 19:46 IST