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Nitish Kumar wins trust vote in Bihar Assembly amid Opposition walkout

NDA secures support of 129 MLAs, one more than its tally of 128, Three RJD MLAs switch sides ahead of floor test

Two ‘missing’ BJP MLAs resurface minutes ago, arrive in Assembly, Tejashwi Yadav says, ‘BJP has made Bharat Ratna a deal’

Alok Nandan

Patna : Two weeks after returning to the NDA fold, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led government won the trust vote (129-0) in a floor test in the Bihar Assembly in the absence of Opposition MLAs who staged a walkout during the Chief Minister’s address in the state Assembly on Monday. Despite an absent Opposition, the government sought a division of votes after the Deputy Speaker passed the motion of confidence by a voice vote. Voting was held with just the ruling MLAs present in the House and a total of 129 votes, one more than its tally of 128, were polled in the government’s favour. The majority mark in the 243-member Assembly is 122. Ahead of the vote on the Motion of Confidence moved by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to prove that his government enjoys the support of a majority of legislators in the state Assembly, at least two BJP MLAs who were reported “missing” earlier in the day resurfaced and joined the House proceedings. The two MLAs are Bhagirathi Devi and Rashmi Verma. Earlier during the Assembly proceedings, the Speaker of the House and RJD leader Awadh Bihari Choudhary was voted out by a 125 to 112 vote share.

At least three of the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s members were seated on the ruling party benches in the Bihar parliament on Monday, giving the party—which has lost support—a shock. Tejashwi Yadav, the leader of the RJD, filed a point of order to object to the sitting of party MLAs Prahlad Yadav, Neelam Devi, and Chetan Anand among the ruling NDA members.

Last month, Nitish took the oath as Bihar CM for the record ninth time after dumping the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) and the ‘INDIA’ bloc to form a new government with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

During the test, a no-confidence motion moved by the NDA against Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary was taken up by assembly. Chaudhary belongs to RJD and had refused to step down after his party lost power.

Hours before the trust vote, back-to-back meetings were held by the ruling and the opposition parties. JD(U) had issued a three-line whip asking all MLAs to be present during the test. According to reports, JD(U) MLAs were not shifted anywhere before the floor test.
JD-U chief Nitish Kumar had, after days of speculation, quit as the Chief Minister on January 28. This was his second about-turn in less than 18 months. Having severed ties with the RJD and Congress, Nitish then formed a government with BJP’s support, and took oath as CM for ninth time.

CM heckled by Opposition MLAs during Assembly address

Nitish Kumar begins address in the Bihar Assembly ahead of the vote on the Motion of Confidence moved earlier today. Faced with repeated interruptions, CM Nitish snapped at Opposition MPs. “Ho kya gaya hai aap logon ko? Nahi sunna hai? Nahi sunna hai to seedha voting kara lijiye,” Nitish said as Opposition MPs jeered and mocked the CM during his speech.

‘Back to where I belong for good’

Nitish Kumar said that he quit because the state of affairs was “not right” under the Mahagathbandhan. He said that he has been receiving suggestions from everywhere, including his party workers, and he listened to all of them to come to this decision. Bihar CM said that he is back to where he belongs and will stay here for good. Nitish was addressing the Assembly and touched upon his return to the NDA. “All developments works will continue. We are against none. I proposed to form an alliance at the central level. But when I saw nothing happening and got to know that Lalu ji is also behind it, I came back to where I belong. Now that I am here, I will stay here for good,” Nitish said.

Nitish reminds Opposition of ‘Jungle Raj’

Addressing the Assembly, Nitish said that the people of Bihar would earlier fear venturing out on the streets during the regime of Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD. “Have you forgotten everything?” Nitish told Opposition leaders amid loud jeering by Opposition legislators.

Tejashwi Yadav’s all-out attack on Nitish Kumar

Ahead of the floor test, during the session, former Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav trained guns at CM Nitish Kumar over his about-turn to the NDA fold and said, “We will always respect CM Nitish Kumar…When you came out of Raj Bhavan after resigning, you (Nitish Kumar) said ‘Mann nhi lag raha tha‘ (Wasn’t feeling good), hum log nachne gaane ke liye thode hai (We are not for dancing and singing)…we were there to support you…”

Taking a dig at the recent announcements of Bharat Ratna awardees, He further said, “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 Yadav likened Nitish Kumar to ‘Raja Dashrath’, stating that just like he had compulsions to send Lord Ram into exile, Nitish must have also had compulsions that led him to take this decision.

Four additional votes for Nitish Kumar

Currently, the NDA led by BJP has 128 seats in the state assembly — BJP has 78 seats, the JD(U) 45 and the Hindustan Awam Morcha (HAM) four. The remaining one seat is held by an Independent (Sumit Kumar Singh). The Opposition holds 114 seats in the House and needs 122 for a majority.

The trust vote in the Bihar Assembly has led to intense speculation as the NDA government in the state received more votes than the MLAs it has in the Assembly. Officially, the NDA has 128 MLAs in Bihar. However, Nitish claimed the support of 127 ahead of the floor test of which only 125 are learnt to have turned up in the state Assembly. However, the final votes tally showed 129 votes in favour of the NDA coalition, four more than expected.



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