17 JD (U) MLAs ready to join party: Bihar RJD leader

Bihar RJD leader Shyam Rajak claims 17 JD (U) MLAs ready to join party

Notably, the JD(U) had won 43 seats in the 243-member House, while the RJD emerged as the single largest party with 75 MLAs in the last month poll

RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav presents the membership slip to former cabinet minister and former JD-U leader Shyam Rajak as he joins RJD party, in Patna, Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. Credit: PTI Photo

A day after it urged Nitish Kumar to play an active role at the national-level politics and appoint Tejashwi Yadav as the Bihar chief minister, the RJD on Monday claimed that 17 out of 43 JD(U) MLAs were in touch with the party and “ready to cross over the fence for greener pastures.”

Senior RJD leader and former minister Shyam Rajak, who earlier this year crossed over from the JD(U) to RJD, made the claim.

“At least 17 JD(U) MLAs are ready to join the RJD. But we have adopted a wait and watch approach as they (defectors) may lose membership of the House under the anti-defection law. We have told them that at least 28 JD(U) MLAs would be required to cross over the fence to escape the anti-defection law,” said Rajak, who was industries minister in Nitish’s Cabinet.

The statement comes a day after another senior RJD leader Uday Narayan Choudhary asked Nitish to dump the BJP-led NDA as the saffron party was trying to weaken him under a well-crafted design.

“Making six JD(U) MLAs join the BJP in Arunachal is just one such example of how the saffron camp wants to make you irrelevant. Before you are decimated, join hands with us. Make Tejashwi Bihar chief minister and we (Opposition) will project you as the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls,” Choudhary, a former associate of Nitish, but now in the RJD, told Nitish.

However, the JD(U), which admonished the BJP for causing defections in its party in Arunachal, is not very happy over the RJD offer. “The JD(U) is united. Under the leadership of Nitish, Bihar is making progress by leaps and bounds. The statements by certain RJD leaders are a figment of their imagination,” said JD(U) spokesperson Rajiv Ranjan Prasad.

Notably, the JD(U) had won 43 seats in the 243-member House, while the RJD emerged as the single largest party with 75 MLAs in the last month poll.