Patna/New Delhi, 18 May-2014, HT: High drama unfolded in Bihar on Sunday over Nitish Kumar reportedly agreeing to rethink his decision on the resignation from chief minister’s post and three RJD legislators parting ways with Lalu Prasad.
MLAs Samrat Chaudhary, Ram Lakhan Ram Raman and Javed Iqbal resigned from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and submitted their letters to Speaker Udai Narayan Choudhary.
The Janata Dal (United) camp, meanwhile, was abuzz with Nitish’s decision, which came as a shocker on Saturday following the party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha elections.
The JD(U) won only two of the state’s 40 Lok Sabha seats – as against 20 seats 2009 when it fought as an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
After a high-level meeting, the JD (U) legislature party decided unanimously that Kumar will continue as chief minister.
“We have requested Nitish Kumar to withdraw his resignation and he has sought one day’s time to make decision,” an ANI tweet quoted JD(U) leader Sanjay Singh as saying.
However, a PTI tweet said, “JD(U) MLAs unanimously chose Nitish Kumar as their leader, but he refuses to withdraw his resignation.”
Another ANI tweet quoted JD(U) leader Neeraj Kumar as saying, “We want Nitish Kumar to continue as the CM, he has worked in Bihar.”
According to a CNN-IBN report, the JD (U) legislature party will meet again on Monday.
BJP plays its card
The TV channel reported that Bihar BJP leader Sushil Modi met the governor, and submitted a memorandum. Sushil Modi reportedly said the governor should enquire if the Nitish government enjoyed majority in the House.
Amidst fast-paced political developments, the BJP delegation that met the state governor also urged him to seek a parade of all MLAs in the event the JD(U) again staked claim to form government.
“Nitish Kumar is heading a minority government and has not even been able to expand his ministry which has halted development in the state,” Sushil Modi, part of the delegation, said.
Asked if the BJP was making efforts to form government in the state, he added, “Right now we have not thought about it.”
RJD MLAs switching sides a silver lining for JD(U)
“When Nitish Kumar left such a big post of chief minister, can’t we make a small sacrifice like resigning from assembly?” RJD MLA Samrat Chaudhary, who resigned from the party, told reporters at his residence.
He said they would join the JD(U) to strengthen hands of Kumar.
Chaudhary, Raman and Iqbal were prominent among 13 RJD MLAs who had earlier proposed to the Speaker to recognise them as a separate group.
But, later nine out of the 13 had returned to the RJD.
After vehement protest staged by RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his party, the Speaker had said he would take an appropriate decision on the issue later.
Chaudhary, son of senior JD(U) leader Shakuni Chaudhary who had quit RJD earlier, said they had been working with Kumar after quitting RJD in February this year.
While Chaudhary is an MLA from Parbatta in Khagaria district, Raman represents Rajnagar (SC) seat in Madhubani district and Javed Iqbal is an MLA from Banka.
Resignation of the three RJD MLAs has left the party strength in the 243-member Bihar assembly to 21.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)