Last Updated: February 12, 2024, 18:57 IST
(L-R) Rebel RJD MLAs Chetan Anand, Ashok Choudhary and Neelam Devi flash victory sign after the Nitish Kumar-led NDA in Bihar won a vote of confidence, in the assembly on February 12. (Image: PTI)
Three RJD MLAs – Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav – went and sat on the government side in the Bihar legislative assembly, further emboldening the Nitish Kumar-led NDA in the state
The Democratic Alliance sailed through the Bihar floor test on Monday with 129 votes, even as it had 127 on its side that is above the majority mark of 122 in the 243-member Bihar assembly. Three RJD MLAs – Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav – went and sat on the government side in the House, further emboldening the Nitish Kumar-led alliance in the state.
What’s more interesting is that Anand was spotted playing cricket with Tejashwi Yadav in his house less than 24 hours ago. All 79 MLAs of the RJD were camping at the residence of the former deputy chief minister. A visibly surprised Tejashwi could not hide his shock and made a sarcastic comment to the rebel MLAs, saying: “Neelam ji, you are a woman. We welcome your decision.”
Seeing the numbers stacked against them, the Mahagathbandhan (or whatever is left of it) chose to walk out of the assembly, resulting in a big fat zero in the final tally on its side.
Earlier, Bihar assembly speaker Awadh Bihari Choudhary made it clear that he will not step down from his post. “Why should I resign? I will run the House according to rules of the Constitution,” he said.
But, the RJD leader was summarily removed after a no-confidence motion was brought against him. If 38 MLAs support the motion, the voting process can be completed.
In an opposition-less assembly, deputy speaker Maheshwar Hazari made the formal announcement of ‘Team Nitish’ making it safe. He was conducting the proceedings after the speaker was removed.
On February 10, RJD boss Lalu Prasad Yadav sent an emissary to Jitan Ram Manjhi’s residence to make him switch sides. Understandably, all eyes were on four MLAs of the Hindustani Awam Morcha but the NDA managed to keep its flock together.
In the morning, Patna was abuzz with rumours of cross-voting from both sides and many MLAs not showing up at meetings while some allegedly turning off their mobile phones. Taking potshots at the lengths to which the RJD went to keep its flow intact, JD(U) leader KC Tyagi said, “The Congress created an atmosphere of fear by sending its MLAs to Hyderabad. Similarly, the RJD made its MLAs prisoners.”