Nitish wins vote, Oppn walks out

The Asian Age.  | Nayyar Azad

India, Politics

In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, 129 MLAs voted for the motion of confidence

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with NDA MLAs arrives at Bihar Legislative Assembly for the floor test of his government, at Vidhan Bhawan in Patna, Monday, Feb. 12, 2024. (PTI Photo)

Patna: After weeks of speculation and a flurry of political activities, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on Monday won the floor test comfortably as the Opposition had walked out of the House.

In the 243-member Bihar Assembly, 129 MLAs voted for the motion of confidence. The deputy speaker declared zero votes against the motion after the Opposition walkout ahead of the floor test. In the absence of the Opposition, Nitish Kumar first proved his majority by voice vote. He, however, then insisted on manual voting.

The 129 votes in favor of the Nitish Kumar-led NDA included three from the RJD, who switched alliances at the last minute and supported the Nitish Kumar-led NDA. The RJD MLAs who sat on the ruling party benches were Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav. This came as a jolt to Tejashwi Yadav who earlier repeatedly claimed that the Mahagathbandhan would do “khela” (change the game).

Nitish Kumar, who dumped the RJD and joined hands with the BJP last month, accused Tejashwi Yadav’s party of corruption. He said: “I was told they were making money while being in the government.”

Mr Kumar reminded MLAs about the previous government during the Lalu-Rabri period. He said “they (Lalu and Rabri) got the chance to work in Bihar for fifteen years. What used to happen in Bihar then? People were scared to come out of their houses at night. What was the condition of roads then?”

Nitish Kumar said his government will launch a probe on the corrupt RJD leaders who were making money during the 17 months of the Mahagathbandhan government.

Mr Kumar further said he has returned to his old place and will remain with them.

While addressing the House ahead of the trust vote, Nitish Kumar also referred to the INDIA bloc, saying he tried to unite every party but nothing happened.

Nitish Kumar made these accusations after Tejashwi Yadav criticised him on the floor of the House for dumping the Mahagathbandhan. “Nitish Kumar has created history by taking oath as chief minister for nine consecutive times. It’s not just nine times but he has also scripted history by taking the oath as CM thrice in a single term. This has never been seen before”, Tejashwi said while taking part in the debate.

He also warned the BJP. saying: “Can the Prime Minister guarantee that Nitish Kumar won’t flip again?”

During his speech before the trust vote, Tejashwi Yadav also took a sarcastic jibe at Nitish Kumar for his statement after resigning last month. “You mentioned after resigning that “mann nahi lag raha tha (you were not enjoying). Are we there to entertain you? We wanted to support you in your work and not entertain you”, Tejashwi Yadav said.

He said people will remember the Mahagathbandhan government for “creating job opportunities in just seventeen months”. He also took a dig at Nitish Kumar for accusing the RJD of taking credit for development works that were being done in Bihar.

“Don’t worry, Tejashwi Yadav will return when the time comes”, Tejashwi Yadav said.

Targeting Nitish Kumar for aligning with the BJP, he said that Nitish often used to refer to him as a son. He said: “I also regarded him as my guardian. He may have flipped out of compulsion, just as Dashrath had to send Ram to the forest because Kaiykeyi wanted him to do it”.

Speaking in the Assembly ahead of the floor test, Mr Yadav said that the RJD sees Nitish Kumar as part of the family. He said: “You came to us carrying a flag to stop the BJP. But now since they switched sides, your nephew will take the flag and stop the BJP in Bihar”.