Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the ‘born-again’ Janata Dal (United)-BJP government sailed through a trust vote Monday afternoon, after the opposition – the Rashtriya Janata Dal of ex-Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav, the Congress and the Left Front – walked out of the Assembly.
The final score was 130-0 in favour of the JDU-BJP alliance, which also managed to flip three vote from Mr Yadav’s RJD. The majority mark in the 243-member Assembly was set at 122.
Earlier today there was high drama after Nitish Kumar formally sought the Assembly’s support.
A furious Tejashwi Yadav unleashed a barrage of sarcastic taunts and swipes at his former ally, reminding his new partner – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP – of the ‘paltu Kumar’ label.
“Can PM Modi ‘guarantee’ he won’t flip again?” Mr Yadav asked to cheers of approval from party members. Mr Yadav also demanded Nitish Kumar explain his actions to the people of Bihar.
“When you came out of Raj Bhavan after resigning, you said ”mann nhi lag raha tha’… hum log nachne gaane ke liye thode hai (you said you weren’t ‘enjoying it’… are we there to entertain you)? We were there to support you,” he raged.
“… but he took oath thrice in a single term. This is something we never saw before.”
Mr Yadav also hit out at the decision to award former Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur – mentor to Nitish Kumar and RJD patriarch Lalu Prasad Yadav – suggesting the honour was part of a “deal”.
READ | Ex-Bihar Chief Minister Karpoori Thakur Gets Posthumous Bharat Ratna
“I am happy Karpoori Thakur got Bharat Ratna. They (the BJP) made a deal… ‘come with us and we will give you (the JDU) a Bharat Ratna’…” Tejashwi Yadav declared.
READ | Bharat Ratna To Karpoori Thakur As Impetus For Nitish Kumar’s U-Turn?
Mr Thakur was an iconic socialist leader who was Chief Minister twice in the 1970s, and is credited with implementing the state’s contentious alcohol prohibition policy. Still remembered today as ‘jan nayak’, or ‘leader of the people’, Karpoori Thakur’s legacy remains a valuable asset for political parties today.
After Mr Yadav’s speech his RJD, the Congress, and the Left Front – all former allies of Nitish Kumar’s erstwhile government – walked out of the Assembly.
Earlier Awadh Bihari Choudhary was removed as Speaker; he failed a no-confidence motion of his own, with 125 members voting to sack him. Mr Choudhary is from the RJD, which was dumped last month by Nitish Kumar, less than two years after he cut ties with the BJP.
Nitish Kumar took oath as Chief Minister for a ninth time last month, saying the mahagathbandhan – the alliance the RJD – was “not right”. Sources, however, said he was more upset about the lack of the INDIA bloc’s poll prep. He was reportedly also upset over being snubbed as a possible PM face.
As a result, Nitish Kumar ditched the mahagathbandan and INDIA and formed a new government with the BJP. Often mocked as “paltu Kumar”, for his many flip-flops, the Bihar Chief Minister met PM Modi in Delhi last week, after which he said he would “never” again leave the party-led NDA.
READ | Nitish Kumar Meets PM Modi, Says Will Never Leave NDA Again
Nitish Kumar’s quitting of INDIA has left the bloc – formed last year to unite the opposition and defeat the BJP – on the verge of breaking up, after Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and the Aam Aadmi Party both said they intend to go their own way, for now.
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