trust vote Today; JD-U 4 short of majority
statesman news service
PATNA, 18 JUNE: Hours before his fate is to be decided, Bihar chief minister and JD-U leader Mr Nitish Kumar is working overtime with his team of crisis managers to “manage” the required number of legislators to prove his majority on the floor of the state Assembly tomorrow.
The JD-U is four short of the majority mark of 122, but Mr Kumar hopes to muster the numbers; Mr Kumar volunteered for a trust vote after he walked out of the 17-year-old alliance with the BJP on Sunday to protest against the rising influence of Mr Narendra Modi in the party.
The JD-U has 118 members in the 243-member Assembly and needs the support of four more MLAs to stay in power. Rebel JD-U MLAs also pose a worry for the CM.
Mr Kumar attempted to reach out to the six Independents by promising them “cream” portfolios in order to elicit their support, but they kept giving conflicting signals.
The chief minister had looked cheerful yesterday when four Independents had driven to his 1, Anne Marg residence in one car to attend a crucial meeting of JD-U legislators and leaders. The four Independent legislators ~ Bhojpuri singer Vinay Bihari (Lauriya Assembly seat), former sub-inspector-turned-politician Mr Som Parakash Singh (Obra), Mr Dulal Chand Goswami (Balrampur) and Mr Pawan Kumar Jaiswal (Dhaka) ~ had been elected by defeating NDA candidates and were quite vocal against the government. Mr Singh, who had been particularly vocal against the present regime and had even said he’d quit politics given his frustration at the level of corruption in the state. He has since changed his stance, along with the others; they contention is that they don’t want to “destabilise” the present regime and lead Bihar into political uncertainty like neighbouring Jharkhand.
Nitish Kumar thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for calling him a “secular leader” and said the praise has given him “peace of mind”