How Numbers Stack Up In Bihar Assembly As Nitish Kumar Heads To NDA

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Nitish KUmar is likely to return to an alliance with the BJP today. (File)

Patna:

Nitish Kumar is expected to resign as Bihar Chief Minister today, ending his party Janata Dal(United)’s two-year association with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). Mr Kumar is likely to return to an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has already collected support letters for the JD(U) leader. The BJP and JD(U) have also finalised a seat-sharing agreement for the Lok Sabha election due in three months.

Nitish Kumar snapped ties with the BJP in 2022 and formed the government in a ‘Mahagatbandhan’ with Lalu Yadav’s RJD, the Congress, and Left parties.

RJD is currently the single-largest party in the 243-member Bihar Assembly, with 79 MLAs. But even the RJD is 43 short of the halfway mark – 122.

The BJP is the second biggest party in the assembly with a strength of 78 MLAs.

Here is how the numbers stack up in the Bihar assembly:

RJD – 79 MLAs

BJP – 78 MLAs

JD(U) – 45

Congress – 19

CPI (M-L) – 12

Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) – 4

CPI – 2

CPI (M) – 2

AIMIM – 1

Independent MLA – 1

Can JD(U) And BJP Form The Government In Bihar?

If Nitish Kumar and the BJP join hands, they would end up with 123 MLAs, just one more than the halfway mark needed to form the government. The BJP also has the support of the Hindustani Awam Morcha, which would bring four more MLAs into the fold, making it easier for the alliance to prove majority.

BJP sources have told NDTV that all the party’s legislators in the state have already given letters of support to Nitish Kumar. Instead of Nitish Kumar stepping down as Chief Minister, the BJP is also considering reshuffling the Bihar cabinet by replacing RJD ministers with its own MLAs.

What Happens To ‘Mahagatbandhan’ If Nitish Kumar Exits?

If JD(U) breaks away from the ruling coalition, they would fall short by eight MLAs. RJD leader and Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav though has hinted that they form to stake claim to form the government.

With the backing of Congress and the left parties, the coalition would have 114 MLAs – eight short of the halfway mark.

According to sources, Tejashwi Yadav told party leaders that the game is yet to begin in Bihar.

“Whatever remained undone in two decades, we managed to get it done within a short time- be it jobs, caste census, increasing reservation, etc. ‘Bihar mein abhi khel hona baki hain’ (The game is yet to begin in Bihar)” Mr Yadav reportedly said.

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