Nitish Kumar trashes RJD’s claims of defections from JD (U), says party is united

Nitish Kumar said talks of JD (U) MLAs defecting to the RJD is baseless.
By Vijay Swaroop | Hindustan Times, Patna
UPDATED ON DEC 31, 2020 01:09 AM IST
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has insisted that the JD (U) is united.(Santosh Kumar/HT PHOTO)

In a big relief to the NDA camp in Bihar, chief minister Nitish Kumar said Wednesday that JD (U) was united and there was no truth in claims about party leaders defecting to any other party.

His reaction came after the opposition RJD in the backdrop of growing uneasiness between the BJP and JD (U) over developments in Arunachal Pradesh claimed that 17 JD (U) MLAs were willing to change sides.

RJD leader Shyam Rajak claimed that 17 legislators from Nitish Kumar’s party were in touch with them and all set to join the opposition party.

“Seventeen JD (U) legislators are in touch with RJD through me. They are desperate to join RJD at the earliest but we have stopped them as they will lose their membership due to anti-defection law,” said Rajak.

The RJD leader claimed that JD (U) legislators were unhappy about the way BJP was asserting itself on Nitish Kumar in the new government.

Rajak, a former JD (U) minister, who returned to the RJD before the assembly election, said that talks with others are also on. “To evade anti-defection law, at least 25 to 26 legislators should defect at a time,” he said and added that this will happen soon.

Nitish Kumar, who stepped down from the JD (U) national president’s post last Sunday called it a “baseless talk”

“All is well in JD (U). There is no weight in RJD claims. All these are baseless,” the chief minister said.

JD (U) state president Bashistha Narain Singh advised RJD to stop talking absurdly. “First set your own house in order. Everything is fine in NDA,” he said while the party’s spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan said JD (U) legislators were united and RJD should keep its flock together.

“There is no resentment in JD (U). Our party is upset over what happened in Arunachal but this does not mean that our legislators will get misguided. RJD in turn should keep its house together as many of the legislators are unhappy with Tejashwi Yadav’s style of functioning,” said Ranjan.

Nitish Kumar’s strong denial to RJD’s claim has come as a big relief to NDA partners particularly the BJP, which found itself on the backfoot after the JD (U) took aggressive posture following Arunachal Pradesh developments where six JD (U) MLAs defected to the BJP.

“Nobody can break our (NDA) house. Nitish ji is our guardian and our mukhiya is strong,” said deputy CM Renu Devi of the BJP.

On Tuesday, some RJD leaders had tried to lure Kumar by projecting him as PM candidate if he made way for Tejashwi Yadav as Bihar chief minister.

“Nitish Kumar should give up the chief minister’s chair and pull out of the NDA. He should help Tejashwi Yadav form the new government and the RJD would return the favour by backing him as prime ministerial candidate in 2024,” Uday Narain Chaudhary, a former state assembly speaker and RJD leader had said.

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