Other States

After the LJP split, eyes on Congress MLAs in Bihar

Prem Chandra Mishra. File Photo.  

After the split in the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), now speculation is rife in Bihar for a possible break among 19 State Congress legislators. Congress leaders, though, have strongly denied it and said “such rumours are being spread by leaders of a party to create confusion”.

If some ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) party leaders are to be believed, as many as 10 out of 19 Congress MLAs in the State are in constant touch with them and ready to break away from their party “at any time”. “We now need the support of only three Congress MLAs to make a split in the party by two-thirds to avoid action under the anti-defection laws,” said a senior JD(U) leader, adding, “but, very soon these three too would come”.

Party sources also told The Hindu that these 10 Congress MLAs include three legislators from the minority community, and two who have won elections in the last 2020 Assembly poll from the Bhagalpur area. “Abhi aage aage dekhiye hota hai kya (now you’ll see what happens next),” they said.

With its dismal performance in the 2020 Assembly elections — winning only 19 out of 70 seats contested under the grand alliance — the Congress in Bihar has been agog with internal bickering between lobbies led by some senior State party leaders. However, Bihar Congress in-charge Bhakt Charan Das earlier denied the existence of internal bickering or factions.

Meanwhile, senior State party leader and MLC Prem Chandra Mishra strongly denied that “even a single party MLA was ready to break away”. “It’s all rumours spread by some leaders of a ruling party to create confusion. Congress party MLAs in Bihar are strongly united and not even a single one of them is ready to go anywhere. Let them say what they want to say but we’re solidly intact,” Mr. Mishra told journalists in Patna.

It is also said that the whole exercise of “poaching” MLAs from other parties was started to counter the recent political developments in the State, when Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal MLA Tej Pratap Yadav, also the elder son of party chief Lalu Prasad, had a closed door meeting with National Democratic Alliance ally Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular (HAMS) leader and former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi for over 35 minutes on June 11, Mr. Prasad’s birthday. Mr. Manjhi also had telephonic conversation with Mr. Prasad for over 10 minutes on the occasion.

The leader of another alliance partner, the Vikassheel Insaan Party’s (VIP) Mukesh Sahani also met with Mr. Manjhi and made some comments, which apparently has not gone down well with the ruling NDA government.

Both HAM(S) and VIP have four MLAs each and it is said that with their support, along with five MLAs from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen, the Opposition mahagathbandhan could reach the magic figure of 123 MLAs in assembly to form the government in Bihar. “This might have alarmed the ruling NDA alliance and forced them to look for other options,” said political analyst Ajay Kumar.

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2021 8:42:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-the-ljp-split-eyes-on-congress-mlas-in-bihar/article34823459.ece

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