"17 JD-U MLAs are in touch with us and are ready to join our party any time. Since we don't want to violate anti-defection law, we have told them that we will welcome them only when they come in a group of 28 MLAs," Rajak said.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar
Bihar chief minister and former JD-U President Nitish Kumar on Wednesday said that the claims of imminent split of his party “had no substance” and were ‘”baseless”. “These kinds of claims are totally baseless…have no substance,” he said while speaking to reporters. His reactions came hours after RJD leader Shyam Rajak claimed that 17 JD-U MLAs were ready to join the Opposition party led by Tejashwi Yadav.
Rajak, however, said that the RJD had told the JDU leaders that they would be inducted only when they come in a group of 28. “17 JD-U MLAs are in touch with us and are ready to join our party any time. Since we don’t want to violate anti-defection law, we have told them that we will welcome them only when they come in a group of 28 MLAs,” Rajak said, adding that their strength will go up to 28 very soon and eventually a split will happen in JDU.
Anti-defection law does not apply when two-third MLAs leave their party to form or join another party. Currently, the JDU has 43 MLAs in the Assembly.
Rajak, who was earlier with the JD-U but was expelled from the party right ahead of the assembly elections, has claimed that most of the JD-U leaders were not comfortable with the growing clout of BJP leaders in the government. The BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the NDA and the second largest party in the state, has got two deputy chief ministers in Bihar. JDU has now become the third largest party after RJD and BJP.
Ever since the NDA returned to power, the RJD has been making statements to create a rift within the alliance and in the JD-U. Earlier this month, Tejashwi Yadav said that people have to be ready for everything. “It won’t be a big deal if Bihar witnesses elections again and we need to be ready for it,” he said.