By Alok Mohit
PATNA: The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, led by Nitish Kumar, Monday won the crucial floor test in Bihar. The ruling alliance, with 129 members voting in favour of the motion, emerged triumphant as the Opposition chose to walk out ahead of the voting process.
Deputy Speaker Maheshwar Hazari, overseeing the proceedings, officially declared the motion passed by voice vote. However, upon the request of parliamentary affairs minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary, seconded by chief minister Nitish Kumar, a headcount was conducted to ensure the accuracy of the results.
The NDA government secured 129 votes in favour and none against, surpassing the required majority of at least 122 MLAs in the 243-member Bihar Assembly.
Notably, three Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) legislators, previously at the residence of former deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav, switched sides and were found seated with the NDA. Among them were Chetan Anand, son of Anand Mohan, and Neelam Devi, wife of strongman Anant Singh.
In an earlier development in the day, Speaker Awadh Bihari Singh, who had resisted stepping down before the floor test, was voted out after the ruling coalition successfully passed a no-confidence motion against him. The no-trust motion against the speaker was passed by 125 votes in favour and 112 against.
During the debate on the confidence motion, the chief minister accused the RJD– the party he had dumped to form the government with the BJP– of corruption. He claimed that RJD members were involved in financial malpractices, asserting, “Kama rahe the ye log (they were making money).”
Launching a scathing attack on Tejashwi Yadav’s parents, Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi, both former chief ministers, Kumar sought to know what happened to Bihar when his father and mother got the chance to work. “Would anybody dare to go out at night at that time during their 15-year rule? Was there any road?,” he said. The chief minister pledged to launch a probe into alleged corruption by RJD leaders and expressed disappointment upon learning about their malpractices.
Asserting his commitment to the alliance, Kumar declared that he was back in his old place and would never abandon the coalition. He accused RJD leaders of attempting to take credit for the work of his party, JD(U).
Earlier in his speech, Tejashwi Yadav took a swipe at Kumar, highlighting his alleged switching of sides three times in one chief ministerial term. Despite his familial connection with Kumar, Tejashwi asserted that the nephew would now carry the flag he (Kumar) had raised to stop the BJP across the country.
Following Tejashwi’s speech, the RJD, Congress, and the Left Front—former allies of Nitish Kumar—chose to walk out of the Assembly.
(Author Alok Mohit is former senior News Editor of Hindustan Times Patna and Chandigarh editions; can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)