NDA govt wins Bihar trust vote; Tejashvi asks can PM guarantee Nitish will desert them again

Bihar: The Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar won a vote of confidence in the assembly on Monday. The new government secured 129 votes amid a walkout by the opposition members. The Bihar assembly has a strength of 243 MLAs.

Earlier in the day, Bihar Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary was removed from his post in a trust vote, with 125 MLAs voting in favour of the no-confidence motion against the Bihar Assembly Speaker and 112 members voting against it. BJP MLA Nandkishore Yadav moved the no-confidence motion against the Speaker.

Chaudhary, who belongs to the RJD, had refused to step down after his party lost power a fortnight ago when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar once again snapped ties with ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) and returned to the BJP-led coalition.

Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, which has lost power in Bihar, received a jolt inside the Bihar assembly on Monday, where at least three of its members sat on the ruling party benches.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav raised a point of order, taking objection to party MLAs Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi, and Prahlad Yadav sitting among members of the ruling NDA, ahead of voting on a no-confidence motion against Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary.

However, no ruling was given on the point of order by Deputy Speaker Maheshwar Hazari, who was in the chair.

‘Your nephew will carry the flag against Modi’: Speaking on the floor of the House, Tejashwi Yadav said he always considered Nitish Kumar to be ‘Dashrath’ and a father figure and wondered what forced him to ditch the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ and return to the NDA.

Taking a dig at Nitish, the former deputy CM said Nitish had been sworn in for the third time within a five-year term and added, “I stand against this new government. I want to thank CM Nitish Kumar for creating history by taking oath nine times.”

Stating that he thought of Nitish as a member of his family, the RJD leader said, “…We are from the Samajwadi family… Jo aap jhanda le kar ke chale the ki Modi ko desh mein rokne hain, ab aapka Bhateeja jhanda utha kar ke Modi ko Bihar mein rokne ka kaam karega (You had carried the flag to stop Modi in the country; now your nephew will carry the flag to stop Modi in Bihar.)”

Launching a scathing attack over the announcement of conferring Bharat Ratna to former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur (posthumously), Tejashwi said that the BJP has made Bharat Ratna a deal. “I am happy that Karpoori Thakur got (Bharat Ratna)…They (BJP) have made Bharat Ratna a deal. Deal with us and we will give you Bharat Ratna.”

Tejashwi also stated that the BJP was scared of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ government and questioned whether PM Modi could guarantee that Nitish Kumar would not do another volte-face.

In the 243-strong assembly, 128 MLAs belong to the NDA, against 115 of the Mahagathbandhan. To go past the majority mark in the House, the ruling alliance needs 122 votes.

The NDA government includes the JD(U) headed by the CM Nitish, ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) and an independent MLA, Sumit Kumar Singh, who is a minister. The JD(U) has 45 MLAs, the BJP has 79 and the HAM has 4 legislators.

Earlier in January, Nitish, who had reportedly gone into a sulk after not being named the convenor of INDIA, the Opposition bloc that took shape through his efforts, dumped the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar and the national coalition to form a new government with the support of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Putting to rest frenzied speculations around his future and that of the Mahagathbandhan in Bihar, Nitish resigned as chief minister on January 28, his second volte face in less than 18 months.