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Hours Before Floor Test in Bihar Assembly, Signs of Cracks in JD(U), RJD Ranks

Tensions have risen to such a pitch within JD(U) that, according to sources, former party president Sharad Yadav has expressed apprehensions of the party breaking apart in a conversation he had with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday evening.


Updated:July 27, 2017, 11:34 PM IST
New Delhi: Hours after Nitish Kumar took oath as chief minister of Bihar in alliance with the BJP and said he will prove majority on the floor of the Assembly on Friday, signs of cracks in both JDU and RJD could be seen.

Kumar refused to respond to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who accused him of having returned to "communal forces" for "selfish" political motives, saying he would respond those attacking him at the "right time".

"I took the decision to form the new government in the interest of Bihar ... I am committed to the development of Bihar," he said.

Kumar also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for greeting him after taking oath.

"There will be no compromise on corruption," an official statement quoted Kumar as saying. "I am confident that the pace of progress of the state will gain fresh momentum with assistance from the Centre," he added.

Tensions have risen to such a pitch within JD(U) that, according to sources, former party president Sharad Yadav has expressed apprehensions of the party breaking apart in a conversation he had with Gandhi on Thursday evening.

Some other senior JD(U) leaders have come out openly and claimed that untying the party from Mahagathbandhan was Nitish’s own choice and that many party leaders were not even informed about this big political turnaround.

Speaking to media, JD(U) MP Ali Anwar said, “We never expected this from Nitish Kumar…even Sharad Yadav was not consulted or kept in the loop.”

Anwar was the first JDU MP to openly take a stand against Nitish Kumar for allying with the BJP. Earlier this day he said “Nitish Kumar heard the voice of his conscience before taking the decision. However, my conscience does not allow me to support it… JDU had parted ways with BJP in the last state Assembly elections due to the difference in ideologies which continue to exist. In fact, things we did not agree with have become even more prominent recently.”

A few hours after Anwar’s statement the Kerala unit of JDU openly distanced itself from Nitish Kumar’s decision, saying, “Our stand is clear. We will not support Nitish Kumar if he’s part of NDA.”

Later during the day former party president and senior leader Sharad Yadav also held meetings with JD(U) MPs. According to sources Yadav also had a word with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who blamed Nitish Kumar for breaking Mahagathbandhan for his “selfish gains”. Gandhi was reportedly told by Yadav that he was not informed by Nitish about the alliance and that he fears the party being torn asunder.

Things have been moving at breakneck speed in Bihar. In just over 12 hours from now, Bihar’s new gathbandhan will have to prove its majority in the Assembly. And time is of the essence to Nitish Kumar, who has unraveled the biggest political surprise of the year. Kumar understands that the same strength that helped him tie a knot with a new political partner is the one that could lead to its undoing as well.

The calculation with BJP to form the State Government, which still has 40 more months left, is hinged on the unwavering support of all JD (U) MLAs. Together BJP and its allies with JD (U) have 129 MLAs in a 243-member strong assembly. The new alliance has got just 7 members than what is necessary to form a government.

However given that there are 17 Muslims and Yadavs in JD(U), and given in the dissent breaking publicly in the party, Nitish Kumar may have a lot to worry about. But political grounds in Bihar are changing by the minute. Already an RJD MLA has broken away from Lalu Prasad Yadav and pledged support to JD(U)-BJP alliance. How much the ground shifts by in the coming hours, will be hard to tell. But what’s undeniable is that for all political heavy weights in the state and beyond, coming up is one long night.

(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Puja Menon
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