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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Nitish wins Bihar floor test with BJP support, says changed sides for ‘sewa’

Nitish Kumar took oath as the Bihar chief minister for the sixth time on Thursday, a day parted ways with the RJD and Congress and returned to the BJP, his former ally with which he ran a previous coalition government till 2013.

india Updated: Jul 28, 2017 16:47 IST
Arun Kumar and Anirban Guha Roy
Arun Kumar and Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar arrives at Bihar Vidhan Sabha in Patna on Friday.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar arrives at Bihar Vidhan Sabha in Patna on Friday. (PTI Photo)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar comfortably won a trust vote in the assembly on Friday, securing the support of 131 legislators including those of his new ally BJP, but insisted that his change of sides was for “sewa” and not “mewa”.

Kumar’s fresh stint as the chief minister came two days after he surprised his former coalition partners, the RJD and Congress, to part ways and return to the BJP, his former ally with which he ran a previous coalition government till 2013.

“To be in power devolves great responsibility to govern, not earn. Yeh sewa ka Avsar hai, na ki mewa ka (It is an opportunity to serve, not profit,” he said before seeking the trust vote.

“I faced lot of resistance trying to run the government in the best interest of people of Bihar and preserve the mahagathbandhan, but failed due to RJD’s attitude,” he said.

He, however, added it was “the mandate of Bihar and the responsibility to the people”.

The RJD-led opposition secured 108 votes. Four legislators did not vote, two on technical grounds and one calling sick. Two of the four independent legislators voted for Kumar in the House of 243.

The RJD and Congress’ demand for a secret ballot was turned down by speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary.

After the speaker’s proposal for a voice vote was rejected, a lobby division method was opted for. Legislators went of the House and came back one by one and signed a register indicating their vote, for or against the motion.

Before the vote, opposition leader and former deputy chief minister, Tejashwi Yadav, made an emotional speech, dismissing corruption charges against him were cooked up.

“I am young. Only 28. It was my success, which unnerved the JD(U), which plotted for my removal,” he said, adding that Kumar was aware of his “honesty”.

“Is there any charge against me in the last 20 months of improriety during my tenure in office?... If it was about corruption, the JD(U) should not have allied with my father, who was facing cases; yet it happened,” he said.

“There is just an FIR, not a proved case; so where was the question of my resignation?” he added referring to the controversry over his refusal to quit that led to Kumar pulling of the grand alliance.

“The chief minister never ever asked for my resignation either,” he said.

Senior BJP leader, Nand Kishore Yadav, alleged that RJD chief Lalu Prasad ran the government through his son Tejashwi.

Sushil Kumar Modi, the deputy chief minister who replaced Tejashwi, said, “I thank the Congress and the RJD for not asking Tejashwi to resign. Had that happened, I would not have been on the right side.”

“If the RJD insists that the mandate was not followed, it should introspect, whether it was for the likes of Mohammad Shahabuddin and Rajballabh Yadav? It is better now, that the government is in right hands,” he said, referring to two controversial aides of Lalu.

“The new government will register fresh milestones in successful governance, which was lacking in the last regime due to RJD’s intransigence,” he added.

First Published: Jul 28, 2017 14:16 IST