As widely expected, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar
on Friday sailed through the crucial floor test in the Bihar Assembly with a convincing margin of 131 votes. Nitish kick-started his fresh stint by launching a full-scale attack on the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD’s) first family, calling their secularism “a mask for corruption”.
Four members of the 243-member Assembly couldn’t vote, reducing the total strength of the House to 239. The new NDA government needed 120 votes to win the vote. The 131 votes in favour of Nitish comprised the Janata Dal (United)’s 70, BJP’s 52, LJP’s two, RLSP’s two, HAM’s one and four Independent MLAs. On the other hand, 108 MLAs — 79 from RJD, 26 from Congress and three CPI (ML) lawmakers — voted against the motion.
The Assembly witnessed acrimonious speeches ahead of the division of votes. The CM used the opportunity to launch scathing attacks on the RJD
and the Congress, which have accused him of “joining hands with communal forces”.
“Desh mein koi mujhe secularism ka path nahi padha sakta hai
(No one can teach lesions on secularism). Secularism is something that can be practised. I can’t be with such people who amass property through corrupt means under the garb of secularism,” Kumar said. The JD (U) national
president insisted that he changed sides for sewa
not mewa. “
Mandate janata ki sewa ka tha, na ki mewa ka
(The mandate was to serve the people, not to profit). People voted us for development, not for amassing property. Secularism has to with ideology, not a cover-up for corruption,” he said.
Earlier, Tejashwi alleged the JD (U) leader used him to join hands with the BJP. “Nitish ji made me a pawn for his image building in politics.
The entire chain of events was orchestrated by you (Nitish) to side with the BJP. You never ever sought my resignation. Had you mentioned even once, I would have given it a thought.”
Meanwhile, amid the signs of growing dissidence in the JD (U) over Nitish’s decision to join the NDA, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury met with JD (U) parliamentary party leader Sharad Yadav. The former party president is said to be “upset” and “angry” with Nitish’s decision. The BJP and the Nitish camp is also making efforts to “pacify” Yadav.