The Bihar Chief Minister is in Delhi to attend a meeting of non-Congress and non-BJP front

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday said the Janata Dal (United) would welcome rebel RJD MLAs into its fold and rejected allegations that the Assembly Speaker worked at his behest by hurriedly giving recognition to the breakaway faction.

In Delhi to attend a meeting of non-Congress, non-BJP front, Mr. Kumar told reporters that there are differences in the Lalu Prasad-led RJD and the party is “on the verge of a split”.

“As far as JD (U) stand is concerned, if the people come to us, we will welcome them,” he said.

Dismissing suggestions that the Speaker worked to benefit JD (U), he said, “This is not possible. The Speaker has been given certain powers by the Constitution and he alone can take decisions in certain matters. This is what happened in this issue as well. Nobody can pressurise him,” he said.

He said people can discuss technical aspects of the decision as much as they want to but as far as political developments are concerned, RJD is close to a division among its ranks.

Mr. Kumar, who broke away from NDA over the elevation of Narendra Modi, said he could not see the so-called wave in favour of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

RJD saw a virtual split on Monday with 13 out of its 22 MLAs quitting the party. But six of them later returned and denied walking away from the party.

Earlier in the day, RJD chief Lalu Prasad accused Mr. Kumar of hatching a conspiracy to break his party.

“Nitish hatched a conspiracy with the speaker to break my party. But, it went wrong and the whole country has seen the conspiracy,” Mr. Prasad said.

No pressure

Meanwhile, senior RJD leader Samrat Chaudhary, who handed over a letter with the signatures of 13 MLAs quitting RJD to the Bihar Assembly Speaker, rubbished allegations of fraud and claimed those who returned to the party did so under pressure.

“I had submitted the letter bearing the signature of 13 MLAs to Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary on February 14,” Samrat Chaudhary, who is Chief Whip of the RJD in the Assembly, said.