Amid Defections In Lalu Yadav’s Party, Rabri Devi Cautions Nitish Kumar

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Amid Defections In Lalu Yadav's Party, Rabri Devi Cautions Nitish Kumar

“If there is anybody who needs to worry, it is Nitish Kumar,” Rabri Devi said.


Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi today asserted that defection of MLAs belonging to her RJD and ally Congress should “worry” incumbent Nitish Kumar, the JD(U) president who recently tied up with BJP, and he should “see the writing on the wall”.

Rabri Devi, who is the wife of RJD’s founding president Lalu Prasad Yadav, also claimed that the BJP was poaching her MLAs out of the belief that the political battle in Bihar was between the two parties.

“It is now RJD versus BJP in Bihar. There is no third force of consequence. This is something the BJP knows, a reason why it is trying to wean away our people,” said the RJD national vice president.

“But we are not worried. If there is anybody who needs to worry, it is Nitish Kumar. He needs to see the writing on the wall. It is not for nothing that the BJP is trying to increase its own strength in the assembly,” she added.

Notably, Rabri Devi’s statement came a day after her party MLA Mukesh Raushan had alleged that after having a sufficient number of MLAs by its side, the BJP would engineer a split in the JD(U) to dethrone Nitish Kumar, the longest-serving chief minister of the state.

Rabri Devi seemed to be in agreement with the contention and said, “You just need to look at what the BJP has been doing in other states.” Altogether four MLAs of the RJD and two of the Congress have switched over to the NDA in the last couple of weeks. None of them has, so far, joined the BJP though speculations are rife that they may formally do so in the near future.

The Congress had on Wednesday moved an application before Speaker Nand Kishor Yadav, seeking the disqualification of its MLAs Murari Gautam and Siddharth Saurav.

Rabri Devi said her party was planning to do the same for RJD MLAs Chetan Anand, Neelam Devi and Prahlad Yadav, all of whom crossed over on the day Nitish Kumar won a trust vote, and Sangita Kumari, who did the same a couple of days ago.

Rabri Devi said, “We will try to keep our flock together. But those who have made up their mind to switch sides should first resign their membership of the assembly. They should be ashamed of what they are doing. I wonder how the Speaker can allow this.” The RJD leader also dismissed allegations by some of the defectors that those not from the Yadav caste were getting a raw deal in the party.

“It is utter nonsense. Be it the extremely backward classes or the Dalits, the RJD has given respect to all. No other party has rewarded sweepers, stone-cutters and labourers with berths in the state legislature or cabinet,” she said.

In the 243-strong assembly, the NDA enjoys the support of 134 MLAs, including the six defectors. The BJP, on its own, has 78 MLAs, as against only 45 of JD(U).

The ruling coalition also includes four MLAs of ex-CM Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM and an Independent.

The RJD, which was the single largest party with 79 MLAs until it got hit by defections, lost power a month ago when the JD(U) supremo abruptly called off the alliance and returned to NDA.

Rabri Devi was also asked about rumours that the chief minister was scheduled to go abroad next week.

She said, tongue in cheek, “I wish him the best of luck. He might do well to settle abroad. Not much is left for him here.”

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

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