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Nitish’s BJP plunge leaves JD (U) MLAs from Bihar’s Muslim hub in a fix

In November 2015, these three MLAs were elected from high Muslim concentration districts of Araria and Kishanganj in north eastern Bihar, on an avowedly anti-Narendra Modi, anti-BJP vote.

india Updated: Jul 27, 2017 17:32 IST
Aditya Nath Jha
Aditya Nath Jha
Hindustan Times, Purnia
GA breakup,Nitish's BJP flip,JD (U) MLAs
The break up of the grand alliance has created an untenable situation for JD (U) MLAs in some areas. (PTI representative image)

Janata Dal (United) president Nitish Kumar’s decision, on Wednesday, to resign as chief minister of the grand alliance government and form a new one with the BJP, its arch foe in the November 2015 assembly poll, has left his party’s three Muslim MLAs in the Muslim-dominated ‘Seemanchal’ region of eastern Bihar, high and dry.

These MLAs - namely, Mujahad Alam of Kochadhaman and Naushad Alam of Thakurganj, both in Kishanganj district bordering West Bengal and Sarfaraz Alam of Jokihat in adjacent Araria district , have been returned from high Muslim concentration areas, on an anti-Narendra Modi, anti-BJP vote.

“They were elected as candidates of the RJD-JD (U)-Congress ‘secular alliance’ in districts where the Muslim population ranges from over 40% (Araria) to almost 70% (Kishanganj). For their party, the JD (U) to join forces with the BJP now has made their position untenable”, said a local Muslim leader close to the JD (U).

“We feel cheated and it goes without saying that these three MLAs are under tremendous pressure from their voters”, he added.

Interestingly, the JD (U) Jokihat MLA, Sarfaraz Alam, who was accused of molesting a woman in Rajdhani Express train in January 2016 and arrested, is son of Araria RJD MP Mohammad Taslimuddin, who, earlier this week, had directly criticized CM Kumar.

“As such, the possibility of Sarfaraz and other two Seemanchal Muslim MLAs casting a conscience vote instead of abiding by a JD (U) whip, cannot be ruled out”, said another senior JD-U leader of Araria.

However, repeated efforts to speak to the three Muslim JD-U MLAs provided futile.

However, a senior leader of RJD, Kamal Kishor Yadav, claimed many MLAs of the erstwhile grand alliance in Seemanchal and Kosi regions will vote against new government on the floor of assembly.

During the last assembly elections, the grand alliance had won 29 seats out of 37 in Seemanchal and Kosi regions. Out of these, the JD-U had won 14, RJD 7 and Congress 8 seats. The BJP could win just 7 seats while one seat had gone in favour of CPI (ML).

Overall, the GA had won 178 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly, to the BJP-led NDA’s 58 seats.

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 17:32 IST