3 Bihar Opposition MLAs Sangita Kumari, Murari Gautam, Siddharth Saurav Sit With Ruling Coalition Inside Assembly

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3 Bihar Opposition MLAs Sit With Ruling Coalition Inside State Assembly

This comes days after three RJD MLAs had deserted the party during no-confidence motion (File)

Patna:

In fresh trouble for Bihar’s opposition ‘Mahagathbandhan’, three MLAs of the Congress-RJD combine on Tuesday sat with members of the ruling coalition inside the state assembly.

The drama unfolded in the post-lunch session when RJD’s Sangita Kumari, besides Murari Gautam and Siddharth Saurav (both Congress), were seen entering the assembly behind Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary, who is also the state BJP president.

They sat on the ruling side, upon being signalled by Mr Choudhary to do so, and legislators of the ruling NDA thumped their desks in approval.

The episode comes about a fortnight after three RJD MLAs had deserted the party on a day the party’s senior leader and former Speaker Awadh Bihari Chaudhary got voted out in a no-confidence motion, and the new government headed by JD(U) president Nitish Kumar, with BJP as an ally, won the trust vote.

The RJD has baulked at seeking disqualification of Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav, none of whom have so far formally resigned from the party.

The latest development marks the first sign of rebellion within the Congress, which had packed off all but one of its 19 MLAs to Hyderabad ahead of the trust vote, fearing a split.

Siddharth Saurav, who is said to be unhappy with the Congress’ state leadership, had then refused to leave Bihar, citing prior engagements in his Bikram constituency.

Murari Gautam lost his cabinet berth last month as a result of Nitish Kumar’s abrupt exit from the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ and return to the NDA.

Reacting to the development, Congress legislative party leader Shakil Ahmed Khan told reporters, “The names of those who have switched sides shall go down in the annals of history as traitors”.

Asked what could be the reason behind the crossover, Mr Khan said, “Nobody can read the mind of a traitor. May be there were some inducements. But, they should ask themselves whether the price they got for trading their loyalty would sustain them for life”.

However, Siddharth Saurav hit back, saying, “I have done nothing wrong. I wonder why aspersions are being cast on me”.

He added that he has always had “personal equations” with the chief minister and “great regard for Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

JD(U) MLC and chief spokesperson Neeraj Kumar said the opposition MLAs “must have realised that they will have to be answerable for the financial frauds carried out during the 17-month period that the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ was in power”.

Samrat Choudhary took a veiled dig at the leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav, saying “There is a kid around itching for a game to play. We have handed him a toy”.

The allusion was to the “game is still on” remark of Mr Yadav, who, after losing the deputy CM’s post as a result of Mr Kumar’s volte-face, had predicted a revolt in the ranks of the BJP and JD(U).

The NDA, which formally includes the JD(U), BJP, former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM and an independent, now enjoys the support of altogether 134 MLAs in the 243-strong assembly. 

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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