Nitish snaps ties with BJP

Nitish snaps ties with BJP

Trust vote on June 19; BJP calls Bihar bandh

Nitish snaps ties with BJP

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday severed his 18-year-old alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The chief minister met Governor D Y Patil and requested him to drop all the 11 BJP ministers from the state Cabinet.

Nitish Kumar also informed Patil that he would seek a vote of confidence on the floor of the House on June 19.

“The alliance of  the Janata Dal-United and BJP  is over. We have convened a special session of the Bihar Assembly where we will propose a vote of confidence on June 19,” said Nitish Kumar, soon after emerging from Raj Bhavan.

The governor accepted the chief minister’s  recommendation to sack the ministers.
The BJP has described Nitish Kumar’s decision as “vishwasghat” (betrayal) of the 11.5-crore people of Bihar and asked the Janata Dal-United strongman to resign. It also decided to observe “Bihar bandh” on June 18. The day will be called “Vishwasghat Diwas.”

“In November 2010, Nitish was elected leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar. He is also the leader of the JD-U Legislature Party. Now that he has decided to part ways, it should be his moral responsibility to resign as chief minister and then get re-elected leader of his party,” an anguished Sushil Kumar Modi, who served as Nitish’s deputy for nearly eight years, said.

But Nitish gave no indication of obliging the erstwhile NDA ally. “We wanted to meet BJP leaders and work out an amicable way out before separation. But they did not turn up for the Cabinet meeting slated for Sunday. The BJP ministers did not turn up for the meet I had convened on Saturday. If you are a minister and not attending to your duty, then either you should resign on your own, or else, you should not be a minister at all. I have, therefore, recommended to the governor that all the BJP ministers should be dropped with immediate effect,” said Nitish, during his interaction with the media.

Flanked by party president Sharad Yadav, who announced that he was quitting as convener of the NDA, Nitish put the onus of the split on the BJP.

“The BJP should have tried to broaden the NDA base and included more and more parties into its flock. But it created such a situation that it was getting increasingly difficult for us to continue our ties with them,” he said.

“If someone (read Narendra Modi) is under the impression that he will create an ‘aandhi’ (storm) and grab the prime minister’s post, he is living in a fool’s paradise. To become prime minister, one needs at least 272 MPs. But by annoying your time-tested allies, how will you reach the magic figure,” Nitish Kumar said.

Sushil Kumar Modi chided Nitish Kumar, saying the JD-U was wary of the rise of a backward leader (Narendra Modi), who came from a humble background as his father used to sell tea. “But he has taken Gujarat ahead by leaps and bounds in the last 11 years with no riots after 2002. But if someone (read Nitish) is scared and jealous with the rise of a leader who does not belong to any dynasty, then it’s his personal problem,” Modi said.

The JD-U strongman, however, maintained that he would not compromise on certain principles and was, therefore, not “worried about the consequences post-split.” The BJP, however, did not take it kindly and said it would avenge its insult in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Earlier, in the day, both camps convened their party meetings where all the legislators were in full attendance. The formal decision of a split was taken after the JD-U meeting at Nitish’s residence, following which he met the governor at 2 pm.
To pass the floor test in the Assembly, Nitish Kumar now needs the support of barely four members.