BJP could ‘poach ruling alliance partner JD(U)’s legislators’ in ‘Bihar’s turn after Arunachal’, say Opposition leaders
A day after six Janata Dal-United (JD-U) MLAs switched sides to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Arunachal Pradesh, the Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress party leaders in Bihar on Saturday said it was now “Bihar’s turn” and the BJP would “poach ruling alliance partner JD(U)’s legislators”. Calling it an “unfriendly move”, the JD(U) began its two-day national council meeting from Saturday in Patna in which Arunachal Pradesh issue too cropped up.
“Following Arunachal Pradesh, the disintegration of JD(U) in Bihar too is very much likely, and a decline of the party [JD-U] is now certain,” said RJD leader and party MLA from Hasanpur Tej Pratap Yadav.
Senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwari asked, “The development in Arunachal Pradesh was part of a BJP strategy to humiliate Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and also to cut his political stature to size, and this started during the recently held Bihar Assembly poll with LJP (Lok Janshakti Party) chief Chirag Paswan’s rebellion. What else could explain the poaching of six JD(U) MLAs in Arunachal, where the BJP has been a ruling party with a comfortable majority?”
Mr. Tiwari also added that “power equations in Bihar too could undergo a change after the Arunachal Pradesh development”. “Nitish Kumar now has to take a tough decision as to what is more important to him — his own political stature or the trappings of power,” said the RJD leader.
Another senior RJD leader and party spokesperson Bhai Virendra suggested Mr. Kumar sever his ties with the BJP and form a new government in Bihar with RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav’s leadership. “Give up your chair and help Tejashwi Yadav in forming a new government in Bihar as it would help in retaining a bit of your political respectability. Else, the JD(U) [in Bihar] would suffer the same fate it has in Arunachal Pradesh,” Mr. Virendra told media persons.
Party leader and Rajya Sabha member Manoj Jha also echoed the same view: “After Arunachal Pradesh, it may be Bihar’s turn for BJP [on the recent development].”
Senior State Congress party leader and party spokesperson Prem Chandra Mishra also said, “The BJP may repeat [the events in] Arunachal Pradesh in Bihar too with its own ruling alliance partner JD(U).”
Earlier, JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi had said that what had happened in Arunachal Pradesh was “an unfriendly move by a friendly party”. “The BJP has an absolute majority in Arunachal Pradesh but despite this, they let JD(U) MLAs to join them. It was not proper,” he said.
The JD(U), meanwhile, began its two-day national council meet on Saturday at the party headquarters in Patna where party leaders said that the Arunachal Pradesh development was raised and discussed. Party president and CM Nitish Kumar too participated in the meeting, along with party leaders from all across the country.
Bihar BJP chief Sanjay Jaiswal, however, tried to downplay the Arunachal Pradesh development saying, “All four alliance parties are running the government well in Bihar and there is no difference between them. Let’s talk about the Arunachal Pradesh development there [in Arunachal Pradesh], not in Bihar.”
But party spokesperson Prem Ranjan Patel said, “JD(U) MLAs themselves had applied to join the BJP in Arunachal Pradesh. They were in the BJP earlier and now they did their homecoming.”
There is a view in Bihar that the Arunachal Pradesh development could trigger a “difference” between the two ruling alliance partners in Bihar — the BJP and the JD(U).
“JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar is a politician with a lot of patience and he waits for the opportune moment to strike. This Arunachal Pradesh development can trigger a difference between the two allies as the BJP in the present regime of NDA (National Democratic Alliance) in Bihar did not appear ready to play second fiddle to a weakened Nitish Kumar,” political analyst Ajay Kumar told The Hindu, adding, “In retaliation, the JD(U) may put up its candidates in the West Bengal Assembly poll likely to be held in April-May 2021.”