Nitish questions delay, says 130 MLAs to be flown to Delhi
PATNA, FEBRUARY 10
Questioning the delay in inviting him to form the government in Bihar, JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar today said the party has planned to fly 130 MLAs supporting him to Delhi this evening to parade them before President Pranab Mukherjee.
“All 130 MLAs of JD(U), RJD, Congress, CPI and one Independent will fly to Delhi today evening if no word comes from the Governor till that time,” Kumar, the JD(U) Legislature Party leader, told reporters here.
“We took the entire bunch of 130 supporting MLAs to Raj Bhavan, gave letters of support from all of them on February 8. Then what is there to study … There is no rationale in delaying the decision to invite me to form a government,” he said, adding that he has sought an appointment with the President tomorrow.Kumar referred to assertions of Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi in Delhi on Sunday after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he would prove majority on the floor of the House and expand the Cabinet. “Its more than obvious who is running them (Manjhi and his group) by remote,” he said without naming anyone.
Questioning the delay by Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi in calling him to form the government, the former Chief Minister said, “First you said you will take time to take a view on the claim to form government made by me and Manjhi’s plea for a trust vote on floor of the House and then more time will be given for floor test. When our majority is crystal clear what is the logic of taking time?
“It should have been done as quickly as in 24 hour or in 48 hours after we submitted letters of support of 130 MLAs and brought them to Raj Bhawan yesterday … For what purpose is time being taken?” Kumar, who was flanked by state JD(U) President Basistha Narayan Singh and senior leaders Vijay Chaudhary and Shyam Rajak, said.
“Delay will only give time for horse trading by the rival group … Manjhi after meeting the Prime Minister and other BJP leaders in Delhi seem to have got licence for indulging in horse trading,” he said.
To a question whether JD(U) would approach the Supreme Court after parading MLAs before the President, he said, “This is a premature question.”
Kumar alleged that many of the supporting MLAs have told him that the Manjhi camp was offering JD(U) MLAs ministerial berths and also BJP ticket for the Assembly polls later this year to lure them to their side.
“On what capacity are they (Manjhi camp) offering BJP tickets to MLAs? It is almost crystal clear as to who is behind the entire operation,” he said in an indirect dig at BJP.
“Earlier, they had given slogan of ‘Jungle Raj II’ (to criticise JD-U joining hands with RJD). Now Manjhi camp apparently enjoying BJP support is claiming 12 RJD MLAs have pledged them support … Who is promoting Jungle Raj II ?”
The JD(U) leader asked BJP to openly declare that it is with Manjhi.
“The truth is BJP is indulging in ‘tor phor’ of JD(U) (break the party),” he said referring to BJP’s assertions that it was an internal matter of JD(U).
Kumar said in case the Governor gives chance to Manjhi for floor test, JD(U), which has support of 99 out of 111 MLAs, will sit in opposition on that particular day of special session for confidence vote.
“We will request the Speaker to recognise senior leader Vijay Kumar Chaudhary who was earlier too nominated as Leader of the House in Assembly as leader of opposition for the special session,” he said.
“In that situation, BJP would loose even the status of principal opposition party and Vijay Chaudhary will be leader of opposition,” Kumar said sending Chaudhary, who was sitting by his side and others into peals of laughter.
Referring to Manjhi’s comment that it was wrong of the Speaker to recognise him as leader of the JD(U)LP in Assembly of which he was not a member, Kumar said there is provision in the rules for it. “The legislature party leader, who is not a member of the Assembly, can nominate a MLA as the LP leader in his place. In Legislative Council where I am a member I will be naturally declared as leader of JD(U)LP.”
Kumar also trashed Manjhi’s plea for secret ballot during confidence vote, saying there was no provision for this in the rules. “Moreover, this will violate the tenth schedule of the Constitution on anti-defection law as legislators would not be identified whether they followed whip or not.”
“Assembly is run on the basis of rules and not whims of somebody,” he said hitting out at Manjhi.
BJP has tasted a ‘humiliating’ defeat in Delhi because of ‘unethical politics’ and would face similar result in Bihar, he added.