NEW DELHI: The JD(U) on Sunday expressed anguish over its six MLAs switching sides to the BJP in Arunachal Pradesh, in a clear sign that the defection has not gone down well with the NDA partner.
“We express anguish over six JDU MLAs f from Arunachal Pradesh joining Bharatiya Janata Party. This is not a good sign for alliance politics,” senior JD(U) leader KC Tyagi told reporters in Patna.
Interestingly, Tyagi’s remarks come just days after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar played down the defection.
Kumar, who is also the JD(U)’s national president, sought to dismiss the development in the northeastern state with a bitter laugh, saying, “We are focusing on our proposed meeting. They have gone their own way”.
In Arunachal Pradesh, Kumar’s party had won seven seats in the assembly polls held last year and become the main opposition group while the BJP, his coalition partner in Bihar, had achieved power. Six of those seven JD(U) MLAs joined the saffron party on Friday.
Following the switchover, the BJP now has 48 MLAs in the 60-member House, while the JD(U) is left with only one. The Congress and the National People’s Party (NPP) have four members each.
However, the BJP has maintained that it has not “poached” the JD(U) MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh and underscored that the disgruntled legislators had switched sides of their own accord.
Renu Devi, one of the deputy chief ministers in Bihar and a former BJP national vice-president, had called Kumar the “guardian” of the ruling coalition on Saturday and expressed confidence that the development in the northeastern state will not cast its shadow in Bihar.
“We had not poached them (JD(U) MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh). What could our party have done if some legislators voluntarily expressed desire to join us”, Devi had said.
Meanwhile, the defection has given fodder to the opposition parties which sought to warn Kumar against BJP’s “poaching skill”.
Leader of the Congress party in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on Saturday asked Kumar to keep in touch with opposition parties in the state as an “antidote to withstand the Arunachal Syndrome”.
“Before being torn into pieces and to be withered away by the same machination as you are now experiencing in #Arunachal Pradesh, @NitishKumar Ji, explore new ideas which may include keeping in touch with the opposition in Bihar as an antidote to withstand the #ArunachalSyndrome,” Chowdhury had tweeted.
Rashtriya Janata Dal spokesperson Shakti Singh Yadav had said: “The act of the BJP to take six JD(U) MLAs in Arunachal Pradesh is to destroy the existence of the JD(U). It seems that Nitish Kumar is helpless and has surrendered to the BJP. People of Bihar can’t imagine that he has compromised with his self-respect. Is he scared of the multi-million Srijan scam? Scams like this could be the reason for his silence.”
Bihar Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha said that the BJP has shown its real face and doesn’t even mind “betraying” its alliance partner.
The JD(U) has been contesting assembly polls in a number of states without having a truck with the BJP, insisting that its tie-up with the saffron party was “confined to Bihar”.
The party made an exception only in the Delhi assembly polls earlier this year which it fought in alliance with the BJP though the coalition suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Aam Aadmi Party.
The success in Arunachal Pradesh had helped the JD(U) gain recognition as a state party there, a development which was hailed by its rank and file as an evidence of its growing footprint under the leadership of the Bihar chief minister.
Source: Times of India