Nitish Kumar Trust Vote Soon, Bihar Speaker Removed: 10 Points

Moments after Nitish Kumar sought the Assembly’s support, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav addressed the lawmakers, accusing the Chief Minister of betraying the people of the state and warning Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the JDU chief’s ‘paltu Kumar’ sobriquet. “Can PM Modi ‘guarantee’ Nitish Kumar won’t flip again?” the ex-Deputy Chief Minister asked sarcastically.Earlier in the session Awadh Bihari Choudhary was removed as Speaker; he failed a no-confidence motion of his own, with 125 members voting to sack him. Mr Choudhary is from the RJD, which was dumped last month by Nitish Kumar for the BJP, less than two years after he cut ties with that party.The BJP-JDU have 128 seats in the 243-member Assembly; the majority mark is 122. The BJP has 78 seats to the JDU’s 45. Five others on their side are former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Morcha (Secular) and an independent MLA.The opposition – the Congress and the RJD – have 114 seats. The final seat is vacant. The RJD, for what it is worth, is the single largest party with 79 seats. The Congress has 19 and a Left Front 16, with the final seat held by Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM.The JDU-BJP will sail through this numbers test, more so since the latest reports indicate at least three RJD lawmakers have been spotted sitting with Nitish Kumar; the entire trust vote was preceded by rumours of several RJD MLAs going “missing”.The JDU-BJP-HAM flock, Mr Manjhi said Sunday, is holding strong. “Everybody is intact in NDA. We have 128 members and this figure may increase because today everybody holds PM Modi’s leadership in high regard…” he said.In that context, senior police officers visited the Patna residence Tejashwi Yadav late Sunday evening, after his party’s lawmaker, Chetan Anand was declared “missing”. Mr Anand was one of the three MLAs spotted sitting in Nitish Kumar’s side of the Assembly in this session.Nitish Kumar took oath as Chief Minister for a ninth time last month, saying the mahagathbandhan, the alliance with long-time rival/friend Lalu Yadav’s RJD, was “not right”. Sources, however, said Nitish was more upset about the lack of clarity in the INDIA opposition bloc’s poll prep. He was reportedly also upset over the bloc snubbing him as a possible prime ministerial face.As a result, Nitish Kumar ditched the mahagathbandan and INDIA and formed a new government with the BJP. Often mocked as “paltu Kumar”, for his many political flip-flops, the Bihar Chief Minister met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi last week, after which he said he would “never” again leave the party-led National Democratic Alliance.The JDU-BJP tie-up has also been seen as a crucial win for the latter before the Lok Sabha election. Bihar sends 40 MPs to the Lower House, and the JDU won 16 of the 17 seats it contested in 2019.

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