Following five Janata Dal (United) MLAs switching over to the Bharatiya Janata Party, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday expressing outrage questioned the propriety and constitutionality of the alleged poaching by his former ally.
Five JD(U) MLAs have joined the BJP in Manipur on Friday, days after the Nitish-Kumar led party snapped ties with the saffron party in Bihar.
“Is it proper? Is it constitutional? Is it in line with established norms? They are doing so everywhere. Hence all parties must unite in 2024 for a positive mandate,” Kumar told reporters who is being pitched for a “national” role by his party.
Speaking to reporters at the party office in Patna, Kumar alleged that the MLAs have been won over, in an apparent reference to horse-trading.
Reacting to the setback faced by JD(U) in Manipur, BJP leader Sushil Modi said that soon Bihar will also be JD(U)-Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) free.
“Five JD-U MLAs joined the BJP in Manipur, the state has become JDU-free. Those MLAs wanted to remain in NDA. Very soon, we will break the JDU-RJD alliance in Bihar and make the state JD-U free. Nobody can become PM by erecting hoardings and posters,” Modi said, as quoted by ANI.
In the 2022 Manipur elections, which was held in March this year, JD(U) had won six of the 38 constituencies it had contested. In the 60-member Manipur Assembly, the JD(U) is the the third largest party after the National People’s Party (seven MLAs) and the BJP with 32 MLAs.
The JD(U) MLAs who shifted their allegiance to the BJP are: Kh. Joykishan, N. Sanate, Md Achab Uddin, L.M. Khaute and Thangjam Arunkumar. The sixth MLA Abdul Nasir, MLA from Lilong was out of state, and is expected to join the BJP, Indian Express had reported quoting a BJP source.
Khaute and Arunkumar had earlier sought to contest the elections on BJP tickets but had joined the JD(U) after being denied candidature by the ruling BJP.
The Assembly had issued an office memorandum on behalf of Speaker Thokchom Satyabrata Singh giving the go-ahead.
Meanwhile, a two-day national conclave of the JD(U) is underway in Bihar’s Patna.
In the press meet on Saturday, when Kumar was asked that there are speculations that he might visit Delhi soon to meet top leaders and explore the possibilities of opposition unity, the CM replied in the affirmative but was careful not to divulge details.