Hectic political activities in Bihar before trust vote on Monday

Patna: A day before Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seeks trust vote of his newly formed NDA government in the Assembly, political activities intensified in Bihar on Sunday with the ruling and opposition parties trying to keep their MLA strength intact and attempting to dent the other side to gain advantage during the floor test.

While the Congress has sent 16 of its 19 MLAs to Hyderabad to insulate them from any attempt of poaching by

BJP, the main opposition RJD huddled all its legislators at the residence of former Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Prasad Yadav after calling them on the pretext of a crucial meeting on Sunday.

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) President Akhilesh Prasad Singh tried to defend the decision to send party MLAs to Hyderabad saying they were there to congratulate the newly formed government. Other leaders of Congress said that they were enjoying a holiday and lighter moments in Hyderabad. Three MLAs of the party did not accompany their colleagues to Hyderabad citing personal reasons.

On the other hand, RJD member of Rajya Sabha Manoj Jha defended his party’s decision to keep its MLAs at the residence of Tejaswi, saying they had decided to spend their time together before the crucial trust vote of Nitish Kumar government on February 12.

There was nothing wrong if arrangements were made for food and lodging of party MLAs at the residence of Tejaswi, if they expressed their desire to spend time together there, he pointed out.

Jha told media persons that as per the circulated agenda of the Bihar Assembly, the issue of no confidence against Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary was to be taken up in the House before the trust vote of Chief Minister Kumar on Monday.

According to recent judgements of the Supreme Court delivered in Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh case, majority of the total strength of the House barring vacant seats, would be required to remove the Speaker through a no confidence motion.

In the case of Bihar, support of 122 MLAs would be required in the 243-member Assembly to remove the Speaker and not only a majority of the members present during the voting. He expressed his hope that all stakeholders including Chief Minister Kumar and ruling parties would take note of the Supreme court Judgement in letter and spirit for removal of the Speaker.

BJP legislators were taken to Bodh Gaya to avoid any chance of its MLAs crossing the fence. BJP leaders defended the shifting of its MLAs, saying a training camp had been organised there and they had gone to attend it.

Senior JD(U) leader said a Minister in Nitish cabinet Vijay Kumar Chaudhary had called all party MLAs to dinner at his official residence late on Sunday evening. Chaudhary, a close confidant of Kumar, apparently hosted the dinner to keep MLA number intact.

Meanwhile, national spokesman of JD(U) K C Tyagi told media persons that NDA government would succeed in seeking the trust of the House on Monday. NDA’s MLA strength was intact, he claimed.

NDA – comprising BJP, JD(U) and HAM as its constituents, and backed by an independent – has 128 MLAs in the House. Grand Alliance – comprising RJD, Congress, CPI(ML), CPI and CPI(M), and supported by an AIMIM legislator – has 115 lawmakers. 122 is the magic number to form the government. All eyes are now on Chief Minister Kumar to see whether he succeeds in sailing through the floor test successfully on Monday. UNI

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