Three mahagathbandhan MLAs shift to NDA side in Bihar Assembly

In another development, ED raids premises of RJD MLA, husband in money laundering case

Updated - February 27, 2024 08:30 pm IST

Published - February 27, 2024 07:10 pm IST - Patna:

A view of the Bihar Assembly building in Patna.

A view of the Bihar Assembly building in Patna. | Photo Credit: The Hindu

At a time when Leader of the Opposition and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Tejashwi Yadav is on Jan Vishwas Yatra across Bihar slamming the BJP in public meetings, three mahagathbandhan legislators— two from the Congress and one from the RJD — on February 27 changed sides and sat with the NDA MLAs in the Assembly.

In another development, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided the premises of RJD MLA Kiran Devi and her husband, who is a former party legislator, in a money laundering case.

In a sudden move, two Congress MLAs, Murari Prasad Gautam and Siddhrath Saurabh, along with RJD legislator Sangita Kumari refused to sit in their allotted seats in the Assembly and sat along with NDA legislators. Mr. Gautam, Congress MLA from Chenari in Rohtas district, was Panchayati Raj Minister in the previous mahagathbandhan government, while Mr. Saurabh is young party MLA from Bikram constituency of Patna district. Ms. Sangita Kumari represents the Mohania (SC) seat in Kaimur district. The Congress has 19 MLAs in the Assembly. All the three legislators reached the Assembly on Tuesday along with State BJP president and Deputy Chief Minister Samrat Choudhary. The buzz in political circles is that they would contest the next Assembly polls in 2025 on BJP ticket.

Trust vote

Earlier, during the trust vote of the NDA government on February 12 in the Assembly, three RJD MLAs — Neelam Devi, Prahlad Yadav and Chetan Anand — changed sides and sat with NDA legislators to vote in favour of the government’s trust vote. The NDA had won the floor test with the support of 129 MLAs amid a walk-out by the Opposition mahagathbandhan legislators.

In the 243-member Assembly, the RJD has 79 members, BJP 78, JD(U) 45, Congress 19 and the three Left parties have 16 members. Former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) has four MLAs and along with one Independent legislator Sumit Kumar there is one MLA from AIMIM (All Indian Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) Akhtarul Iman.

Meanwhile, the ED on Tuesday conducted raids on the premises of RJD MLA from Sandesh Assembly constituency of Bhojpur district, Ms. Kiran Devi and her husband Arun Yadav, who is the former party MLA from the same constituency (2015—20), in a money laundering case linked to alleged possession of disproportionate assets. The agency conducted searches on the premises of the MLA at Agiaon in Bhojpur and Patna. The MLA was said to be not at her premises during the raid.

The RJD MLA and her husband are said to be close to the family of RJD chief Lalu Prasad. Mr. Arun Yadav and his wife are also being probed by the ED in connection with the illegal sand mining case and the agency had conducted raids on their premises in 2023 as part of its investigations.

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