NEW DELHI: A day ahead of the crucial
in Bihar assembly, chief minister Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) on Sunday expressed confidence that it will emerge victorious in the floor test.
The trust vote is taking place after Nitish took oath as the chief minister of Bihar for a record ninth time after ditching its alliance with RJD and forming government with BJP.
Bihar parliamentary affairs minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary played down the absence of “two or three MLAs” during a meeting of the JD(U) legislative party on the eve of the trust vote.
He attributed their absence to “unavoidable circumstances” and asserted that they would be present during the floor test.
Chaudhary highlighted the strength of the NDA alliance, saying, “We in the NDA have a total strength of 128 MLAs. In the 243-strong
, we are comfortably placed. All our MLAs will be present inside the House where a no-confidence motion against the Speaker will precede the trust vote.”
An alliance needs at least 122 seats in the assembly to prove its majority.
Although Chaudhary did not disclose the exact number of MLAs who skipped the meeting, he claimed that all except two or three had given prior notice of their unavoidable circumstances.
However, JD(U) sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that the three missing MLAs were Sudharshan Kumar Singh, Bima Bharti, and Dilip Roy.
The JD(U) has a total of 45 MLAs, excluding Nitish, who is a member of the legislative council.
Chaudhary outlined the schedule for the proceedings, saying that the House would first address the no-confidence motion against the Speaker.
Following the endorsement of the motion by 38 MLAs, the Speaker will make way for the Deputy Speaker to conduct the proceedings until a new Speaker is elected.
Notably, deputy speaker Maheshwar Hazari belongs to the JD(U), while Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary belongs to the RJD, which lost power due to Nitish Kumar‘s recent change of allegiance.
Chaudhary also responded to RJD national spokesman Manoj Jha’s assertive stance regarding the Speaker’s issue, saying, “We know the rules as well as he (Jha) does. Everything will take place as per the rules.”
Meanwhile, Bihar has become a hotbed of political activity ahead of the trust vote with major parties working to maintain unity.
BJP MLAs, who were attending a workshop in Bodh Gaya, were brought back to the state capital in anticipation of the vote. The BJP has a total of 78 MLAs.
The NDA also includes four MLAs from the Hindustani Awam Morcha, headed by former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi. Amid rumors of a possible switch to the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan, Manjhi has issued a whip to his MLAs. Additionally, there is Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh, who is also a minister and attended the JD(U) legislative party meeting.
Meanwhile, Congress MLAs, who had been stationed in Telangana amid fears of poaching, have also returned for the vote. The party, with 19 MLAs, has gathered at 5, Deshratna Marg, the bungalow allocated to RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav during his tenure as Deputy CM.
RJD MLAs, along with their Left allies, have been staying at Yadav’s residence since Saturday night and will likely show solidarity by arriving at the Vidhan Sabha together on Monday.
The Mahagathbandhan, consisting of RJD, Congress, CPI(ML) Liberation, CPI, and CPM, has a total of 114 MLAs. Additionally, there is one member of the AIMIM, led by Asaduddin Owaisi, whose stance remains undisclosed.
(With inputs from PTI)