Nitish Kumar to face trust vote today, RJD banks on conscience vote of JD(U) MLAs
Though Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar claimed to have the support of 131 MLAs, RJD is banking on disgruntled JD(U) members during the trust vote scheduled to take place at the Bihar assembly at 11am today.Updated: Jul 28, 2017 09:40 IST
The Bihar legislative assembly may witness uproarious scenes with Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) firm on disrupting the special sitting as chief minister Nitish Kumar faces trust vote at 11am on Friday. (Live updates)
The RJD feels being the single largest party, with 80 legislators, the governor should have given it a chance rather than asking Kumar to prove his majority on the floor of the House.
If the situation demands, the Speaker could go for a secret ballot. And all political parties have issued whips to their legislators.
Kumar, who resigned on Wednesday evening, within a few hours staked claim to form the next government with the support of 58 National Democratic Alliance (NDA) legislators. In his letter to governor Keshri Nath Tripathi, he claimed to have the support of 131 MLAs. The Janata Dal(United) has 71 MLAs and two of the four independents have already pledged their support to Kumar, taking his numbers to 131.
By simple arithmetic, Kumar needs the support of 122 legislators to cross the half-way mark in the 243-member house and should ideally cruise through.
The RJD, despite being the single largest party, is set to be relegated to the opposition, with the Congress (27) and the CPI-ML (3) — taking its tally to 110, 12 short of the magic figure.
However, the RJD is banking on dissensions within the JD(U) after three of its MPs — Ali Anwar, Sharad Yadav and Veerendra Kumar — expressed their displeasure over Kumar tying up with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA.
The RJD is also banking on conscience vote of six Muslim and 11 Yadav MLAs within the JD(U). The Muslim-Yadav combine is known to be the RJD’s vote base though reports from within JD(U) suggested that even these MLAs have submitted letters of support individually.
Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh told television news channels that JD(U) legislators were ‘caged’ and their cellphones were taken away on Wednesday night so that they could not be contacted before the trust vote. He also claimed many of them would go by their conscience vote against Kumar.
With voices of dissent loud and clear within the JD(U), a meeting of ‘like-minded’ party leaders was convened at the house of Sharad Yadav in New Delhi on Thursday.
Though Yadav did not appear before the media after the meeting and also abstained from Kumar’s swearing-in ceremony earlier in the day at the Raj Bhawan in Patna on Thursday, some other MPs such as Anwar and Kumar have been vocal.
“It is shocking and we never expected Nitish Kumar to become the chief minister with the support of BJP,” Kumar, president of the Kerala state unit of the JD(U), told a TV news channel.
Just as Kumar had heard the voice of his ‘atma’ (soul) to go with the BJP, his ‘zameer’ (conscience) did not allow him to support the CM on this move, Anwar, a Rajya Sabha member, told ANI on Thursday.
Sharad, also a Rajya Sabha member, had hit a discordant note barely an hour before Kumar was sworn in as chief minister for the sixth time.
Criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s farmers’ crop insurance policy, he tweeted, “Fasal Bima Yojana is big failure as farmers are not aware about insurers but premium deducted from their loans, benefit goes to only insurers.”
JD(U) leaders, however, said in Patna that hectic talks overnight have sealed their support and avoided a split in the party at the national level.