With Congress’s backing, JD(U) gets 126 votes

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Wednesday sailed through a trust vote in the Assembly, retaining the government led by his party, the Janata Dal (United), which recently severed its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Crossing the 122 mark for a majority in the 243-member House, the JD(U) secured 126 votes. Of the total votes earned, 117 were from the party itself, four each from the Congress and Independents and one from the Communist Party of India.

The JD(U) has 118 MLAs, including the Speaker, who does not vote. Mr. Kumar is a member of the Legislative Council.

As the special session began, Mr. Kumar moved the vote of confidence motion. Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary assigned three hours for discussion, where parties stated their stand.

The BJP, which has 91 MLAs, boycotted the motion and staged a walkout. Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal, with 22 MLAs, voted against the motion. The lone MLA of the Lok Jan Shakti Party boycotted the motion. The total votes against the government were 24.

After a headcount of the ayes and nays, the Speaker declared, “This House has expressed confidence in the government” and adjourned it sine die.

As the proceedings began, BJP legislators, led by new leader of the Opposition, Nand Kishore Yadav, trooped into the House, raising slogans hailing Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and of ‘Vande Mataram.’

Without naming Mr. Modi, Mr. Kumar launched an attack on the Gujarat Chief Minister, invoking several instances from the past and challenged the “caste card” of the BJP. He said the Modi wave was just a bubble fuelled by corporate money.

“They are playing the OBC card these days. You need sympathy and sensitivity to be a leader from the OBC. An OBC-born cannot be a leader after being trumped up on corporate goodwill. You have to work for the OBCs before being deemed their leader. It’s not a question of birth, but the work you do… Whose caste are they talking about? I worked for the welfare of mahadalits. Earlier, the RJD played caste politics, but today [BJP] does too. So where is the development [agenda]? The country won’t be carried away by corporate-generated wave,” he said.

The BJP hit out at Mr. Kumar for “plotting” an exit from the NDA from 2009 itself.