statesman news service
PATNA, 19 JUNE: Bihar chief minister Mr Nitish Kumar today won the confidence vote comfortably in the Bihar Assembly amid signs of a new political alignment as the Congress voted in favour of the motion.
So far, the Congress had lent its weight behind Mr Lalu Prasad&’s RJD but the way it acted in the House today, it appeared the JD-U was now headed for being part of the UPA sooner or later. One had got a hint of this on Monday itself when the Prime Minister termed Mr Kumar as “secular”.
What apparently made the work of the chief minister easier was the role of the main Opposition, the BJP which staged a walkout out protesting against the motion.
Had the party participated in the voting, the margin of victory votes would surely have narrowed down. Mr Kumar got 126 votes in his favour against 24 votes which went against him.
Mr Kumar, whose party the JD-U was four short of the majority mark of 122, was required to pass the floor test to continue as CM, but eventually got through as he managed to get the support of four Congress members, an equal number of Independents and one member from the CPI.
The JD-U has 118 members in the Assembly. On the other hand, the BJP, RJD, LJP and two Independents opposed the motion.
Of them, all the 91 members of the BJP and the lone LJP member staged a walkout while the RJD, which has 22 members in the Assembly, and two Independents strongly opposed the confidence motion and voted against the government.
The Opposition BJP members shouted slogans against the CM while the members from the RJD, which was the main Opposition earlier watched the developments.
Replying to the debate on the confidence vote, chief minister Mr Kumar hit out at the BJP, holding it responsible for the break-up in their relations.
He said his party had made a tactical alliance with the BJP to stop division of votes in Bihar and later joined the NDA after the BJP excluded controversial issues but now “divisionary forces” were gaining dominance within the BJP which paved the way for their separation.
He also rejected the BJP&’s allegation that the chief minister, who once professed to follow the politics of ideology, was now getting an expert in “Jugad technology” (managing the required number of support) saying some Independents had already given support to his government long back. Stating that there was no wave in the country in favour of “any” leader, the chief minister said the NDA would not cross even the 200-mark now that his party had walked out of the coalition.
He also sought to puncture the BJP&’s bid to cash in on caste sentiments by pointing out Mr Modi came from the backward community. “No one can become a leader of the backward community just because he was born in that very community. What is important is what he does,” said Mr Kumar.
The Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly Mr Nand Kishore Yadav of the BJP, in his address tore into Mr Kumar saying such things (severing of ties) were not expected from the man who would always flaunt about his ethical values, ideologies and political principles. “The masses gave the mandate in the name of the NDA…You were expected to tender your resignation in line with your image among the masses,” said Mr Yadav.